'Miracle' as New Zealand baby rescued from sea

Clay Curtis
November 6, 2018

The baby had pulled the zip up on the parents' tent while they were sleeping and crawled underneath the flap before making his way down to the beach.

Keen angler Gus Hutt was setting up for a morning's fishing at Matata Beach on the North Island late last month when he spotted what he initially thought was a doll in the water and moved closer to investigate.

It is thought he left the tent at around 7am before being found by Mr Hutt at 7.15am, who then brought him to the campsite.

His face looked just like porcelain with his short hair wetted down, but then he let out a little squeak and I thought, 'Oh God this...

Whyte said that Malachi normally sleeps until 8 a.m., but thinks the sound of the waves might have woken him.

Usually, he said, he headed out straight from the camp to fish from the beach but on that Friday, he had chose to walk a 100 metres to the left, towards Tauranga.

"I thought he was just a doll", Hutt told the Whakatane Beacon of the incident on October 26.

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Malachi's mother, Jessica Whyte, said of the camp manager: "She was like 'do you guys have a young child?' Then she said he's been found in the water".

"He just wasn't meant to go; it wasn't his time". She said he had tried to run into the sea on the previous day and been stopped by his parents. "But he's definitely himself", she told the Stuff news website.

Emergency services arrived with the Matata Volunteer Fire Brigade treating the boy for 15 minutes before an ambulance arrived to take him to Whakatāne Hospital.

"My husband came around the corner with the baby in his arms", she said. When he later traced the baby's footprints down the beach, he said that Malachi entered the water about 15 metres away from where he had been fishing.

'It was frightful in between hearing that and seeing him, ' Ms Whyte told Stuff.

She is now warning parents to ensure their tents are fully zipped when camping with children.

"He was floating at a steady pace. if I had been just a minute later, I wouldn't have seen him", Hutt said. "It was a very, very lucky result.it could have been a very tragic incident", Rebecca Salter, co-owner of the camp, told the BBC.

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