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Fisherman pulls baby boy from the ocean

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A New Zealand fisherman has rescued an 18-month-old baby boy from the ocean, despite initially thinking the child was a discarded doll.

Gus Hutt was holidaying at Murphy’s Holiday Camp near Matata Beach on the North Island when he went fishing on the beach at about 6am on October 26.

Gus told local media that "as he [the baby] floated past, I thought he was just a doll.”

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

"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 baby is alive'."

Describing the boy as “bloody lucky”, Gus added that had he headed down to the beach only a minute later he wouldn’t have seen the boy as he was “floating at a steady pace”.

The boy, named Malachi, was on holidays with his family. He had escaped from his family’s tent by undoing the zipper while they slept before making his way down to the beach.

"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.

"It came as a shock to everyone. It was a very, very lucky result...it could have been a very tragic accident. It's a freakish miracle," she said.

The baby's mother "screamed" when she was informed that her baby was found in the water.

Local police confirmed the baby was unharmed and uninjured.

Image credit: By Air55 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons