Fisherman Rescues Toddler Floating In the Ocean After He Wandered Away From His Camping Tent

Facebook/Jessica Anne Whyte

A mom from New Zealand is thanking her lucky stars after a fisherman and his wife found her baby boy floating in the ocean during a recent camping trip. Little 18-month-old Malachi had wandered away from the tent he shared with mom Jessica Anne Whyte in the middle of the night and ended up floating in the ocean where Gus Hutt saw him. At first the fisherman thought he was a doll, but then "he let out a little squeak." Now Malachi's story is spreading around the world, as his mom shares the horrifying tale of how her boy was saved. 

  • Malachi had been camping with his parents on October 26, when the 18-month-old unzipped his family's tent and walked to the beach.

    According to The Metro, the family had been camping at Murphy’s Holiday Camp when at some point during the night or early morning, Malachi managed to sneak out of their tent and headed toward the ocean. 

    His mom had no idea that her boy was even missing until about 7:30 in the morning when a campsite manager woke her up and told her that a boy had been found in the ocean and that they believed it was her son.

    The mom told the New Zealand Herald that the experience was "horrible in between hearing that and seeing him." And she shared those first few panicking moments before Malachi was brought to her arms. 

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

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  • The save happened when Hutt, who was fishing, spotted Malachi floating in the water.

    Hutt explained that it truly was a matter of luck that he found the toddler. He explained that usually he fishes in a different area of the beach, but on that day he had decided to go to Tauranga where little Malachi had wandered. Around 7:15 am, the man went to check his fishing lines when he spotted what looked like a baby doll floating in the water. 

    "As he floated past I thought he was just a doll," Hutt remembered. "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 is a baby and it's alive.'"

    Hutt reached down and pulled the little guy out of the water. "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," Hutt explained. "He was bloody lucky, but he just wasn't meant to go; it wasn't his time."

    Sue Hutt, Gus's wife, ran to the campsite and alerted managers that they had found a boy floating in the ocean. They then deduced that Malachi must have been Whyte's because they were the only family staying at the camping ground with a baby.

    That was when Whyte was awoken to the news that her son had taken an impromptu dip in the ocean.

    "It was scary but he was breathing, he was alive," she described.

  • Now Whyte is sharing Malaxchi's story in hopes that parents will learn that they need to zip their tents fully when they go on camping.

    The mom said that once Malachi was brought to her she "gave him a big hug" and emergency services was called to check him for injuries. He was first treated for 15 minutes by the Matata Volunteer Fire Brigade before being taken to Whakatāne Hospital by ambulance. 

    Hutt said that when Malachi left in the ambulance, the boy seemed in good spirits. 

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

    His mom told The Metro that her son had been "cold and purple" when he was found, but that he will be fine in the future. 

    The mom also wants to warn other parents that they must fully zip their tents -- or even use a padlock -- when they go camping with their children, so that no parent will have to have the same near-miss that she did.