'Freakish miracle': New Zealand fisherman pulls drowning toddler from ocean
New Zealand 'Freakish miracle': New Zealand fisherman pulls drowning toddler from ocean
Beach angler thought toddler â" who had let himself out of parentsâ nearby tent â" was a doll floating in water
A New Zealand fisherman who mistook a drowning toddler for a doll has been praised for saving the childâs life.
Gus Hutt was casting a line off Matata Beach in the North Island last week when he spotted what he thought was a porcelain doll in the water.
Curious, Hutt dragged the body in from the sea where it was being swept along by a rip and realised it was actually a drowning 18-month old boy.
Hutt usually fished in a different part of the beach and it was pure luck he was in the right spot to see the child just after sunrise.
âI reached out and grabbed him by the arm; even then I still thought it was just a doll,â Hutt told the Whakatane Beacon, a local paper.
âHis face looked just like porcelain with his short hair wetted down, but then he let out a little squeak and I thought: âOh God this is a baby and itâs alive.ââ
âIf I hadnât been there, or if I had just been a minute later I wouldnât have seen him â¦ he was bloody lucky, but he just wasnât meant to go. It wasnât his time.â
The boy had wandered away from his parentâs nearby campsite early that morning and isnât believed to have been in the water long. His parents were woken by Huttâs wife who asked them if they had a baby and said her husband had found a child in the sea.
It is believed the toddler unzipped the tent while his parents were sleeping and walked down to the beach, where his footsteps were found entering the ocean about 15 metres from where Hutt spotted him.
âHe wasnât in the water long. I mustâve just missed seeing him go in,â Hutt said.
The childâs mother, Jessica Whyte, screamed when she realised her baby was gone and told Stuff that she didnât think her heart worked in the moments after she was told her son had been found in the water.
Rebecca Salter, co-owner of the holiday camp where the boyâs family were staying told the BBC the incident was a âfreakish miracleâ
âIt got here as a shock to everybo dy. It was a really, very fortunate outcome â¦ it might have been a really tragic accident.â
The child was initially treated by local emergency services before being taken by ambulance to Whakatane Hospital. Police briefly attended the scene but said they were not taking any further action.
Hutt said the child recovered quickly even if he and his wife were still shaken by the incident.
âHe was wriggling trying to get down to have a look at everything, he was just a lovely, cheeky little fella.âTopics
- New Zealand
- Asia Pacific
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