Man Saves 18-Month-Old Floating in Ocean: ‘Like a Porcelain Doll’

June 27, 2019 Updated: June 27, 2019

A man was credited with saving the life of a child after rescuing an 18-month-old boy who crawled down into the water.

Jessica Whyte said she was woken by the camp manager at Matata Beach, New Zealand, to the news that her son was found floating in the sea, according to the New Zealand Herald.

The manager’s words shook her, she said.

“I don’t think my heart [beat] from hearing that to seeing him. I don’t think my heart worked,” she said.

A fisherman rescued the child, saying he looked like a porcelain doll, floating still in the water.

“As he floated past I thought he was just a doll,” Hutt said. “So, I reached out and grabbed him by the arm; even then I still thought it was just a doll.

He added: “His face looked just like porcelain with his short hair wetted down, but then and he let out a little squeak and I thought ‘oh God this is a baby and it’s alive’.”

Hutt said it was pure luck that he was able to save the child.

According to the Herald, the child, Malachi, escaped his parents’ tent at Murphy’s Holiday Camp.

Hutt said he returned to his fishing lines at 7:15 a.m. and saw the child.

“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,” said Hutt. “He was bloody lucky, but he just wasn’t meant to go; it wasn’t his time.”

Whyte said she gave her son a hug when she saw him again.

“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.”

The boy was taken to Whakatane Hospital after the ordeal.

The report said the boy pulled a zipper on the parents’ tent while they slept before crawling out and made his way down to the beach.

When the parents thanked Hutt, they all noticed that the boy didn’t appear to notice anything was happening.

“He was wriggling trying to get down to have a look at everything, he was just a lovely, cheeky little fella,” she said.

“Apparently the baby had been very excited to be on the beach. It was the couple’s first night staying here. It’s the first time they’ve been here,” Rebecca Salter, the co-owner of Murphy’s Holiday Camp, told the BBC. “Hutt, who is a fisherman and one of our regulars, spotted the baby. [They brought the baby to us], we wrapped him up in towels and Sue went to inform the baby’s parents.”

Police told the BBC that the child is fine now.

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