Gus Hutt, a regular guest at Murphy’s Holiday Camp in the town of Matata on the north island of New Zealand, was fishing early on the morning of October 26 on the campsite’s beach when he noticed something floating in the water. Thinking it was perhaps a doll, he realized as he reached out to grab it that it was actually a baby boy.
According to the BBC, Hutt came to the realization when the tiny tot squeaked as he reached for his arm. The little boy had escaped from his parents’ tent at the campsite.
“I thought he was a doll. [Even as] I reached out and grabbed him by the arm, I still thought it was a doll. 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 said.
Hutt’s usual fishing spot is about 110 yards away, but for some reason at 6:15 am that morning, he decided to try a new fishing spot. He had just been checking his fishing lines when he noticed what he thought was a doll floating in the water.
18-month-old boy rescued by a #fisherman in #NewZealand
"I thought he was a doll. [Even as] I reached out and grabbed him by the arm, I still thought it was a doll, then he squeaked" https://t.co/JebnEJa0Sj pic.twitter.com/GXzNlg2Q1G
— Jesmond Saliba (@SalibaJes) November 5, 2018
Hutt’s wife, Sue, alerted staff at the camp that her husband had discovered a baby in the water and was told that there was only one couple staying at the campsite who had a baby. While they contacted the authorities and Hutt continued to keep the little one wrapped in a warm blanket, Sue went and found the couple and informed them that their son had been found in the water.
“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, said. “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.”
The little boy had quite simply unzipped his parents’ tent and gone for a wander until he had found himself in the ocean. His mother screamed when she was told where he had been but profusely thanked Hutt for rescuing him before she and her husband left with their son.
Whakatane Police had responded to the emergency but later shared that the little boy was “okay” following his unscheduled swim.