Fisherman stunned to find out 'doll' he pulled from ocean was actually a living baby

A New Zealand man fishing near a popular campground last month unwittingly saved the life of an 18-month old baby he found floating in the water.

Gus Hutt, who was vacationing at Murphy's Holiday Camp with his wife, Sue, was fishing near Matata Beach on North Island around 7 a.m. on Oct. 26 when he says he spotted a small figure floating in the water.

"As he floated past I thought he was just a doll," Hutt told the New Zealand Herald. "So, I reached out and grabbed him by the arm; even then I still thought it was just a doll."

After pulling the "dol" from the water, Hutt said he immediately realized it was, in fact, a living child. 

"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 told the outlet. 

Hutt's wife immediately alerted staffers at the camp, who informed them that there was only one couple staying with a baby. A camp manager then rushed to tell the child's parents while other employees alerted emergency services. 

The boy's mother, Jessica Whyte, was woken up around 7:30 a.m. by the news that her son, Malachi, was found floating in the sea but that he appeared to be unscathed.

"It was horrible in between hearing that and seeing him," she told New Zealand outlet Stuff. "I don't think my heart [beat] from hearing that to seeing him. I don't think my heart worked."

Apparently, the baby had managed to pull up the zipper on his parents' tent and crawl underneath the flap while they were still sleeping. The 18-month old then made his way down to the nearby beach, where he fell in the water. 

Hutt said that is was by pure luck that he discovered the child, as he usually fishes 100 meters down from the location he had chosen that day. 

"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."

Rebecca Salter, the co-owner of the camp, told the BBC that the incident "came as a shock to everyone.

"It was a very, very lucky result," she said. "It could have been a very tragic incident. It’s a freakish miracle."

Area authorities have indicated the situation will not be subject to further investigation. 

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