New Zealand fisherman finds baby floating in the ocean

“'His face looked like porcelain”

Content Editor / November 05 2018

A fast-acting fisherman saved a toddler’s life after he saw him floating in the water at Matata Beach near Whakatane in New Zealand.

Gus Hutt initially thought the youngster was a doll until he heard him make a noise, and he quickly retrieved him from the water, purple and cold.

“'His face looked like porcelain with his short hair wetted down but then he let out a little squeak and I thought, ‘Oh God, this is a baby and it's alive’”, Mr Hutt said, according to NZ Herald

“'He was floating at a steady pace with a rip in the water. If I hadn't been there, or if I had just been a minute later I wouldn't have seen him. He was bloody lucky, but he just wasn't meant to go; it wasn't his time.” 

Matata beach, New Zealand

Matata beach, New Zealand

The little boy, Malachi Reeve, had been holidaying with his family when the incident happened. His Mother, Jessica Whyte, believes the little boy unzipped the tent they were sleeping in and walked into the water.

Jessica said the news felt like a sick joke when she was told and it was "horrible in between hearing that and seeing him".

"I don't think my heart [beat] from hearing that to seeing him. I don't think my heart worked," she told Stuff.

Jessica Whyte/FB

Jessica Whyte/FB

The terrified mum said she gave her son a big hug when she saw him again, describing the entire ordeal as terrifying.

“It was scary but he was breathing, he was alive,” she said. “Oh God, it was amazing seeing him. I gave him a big hug.”

Emergency services treated the little boy for 15 minutes before an ambulance arrived to take him to Whakatāne Hospital. He is believed to be recovering well.

Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.