MATATA, New Zealand (RNN) - A fisherman who veered from his usual routine made an extremely lucky find: an 18-month-old boy floating in the water, still breathing.
"His face looked like porcelain with his short hair wetted down," Gus Hutt said. "But then he let out a little squeak and I thought, 'Oh God, this is a baby and it's alive.'"
Hutt told New Zealand news outlet Stuff that on most days he heads straight out to the water from Murphy's Holiday Cap at Matata Beach, but he went further up the beach Oct. 26. He discovered the seemingly lifeless child while checking his fishing lines.
The child had been in a tent at the camp with his parents. He opened the zipper and snuck out while they were sleeping.
Emergency services responded and took the child to a nearby hospital. Hutt's wife, Sue, ran to tell the parents after speaking with the camp's managers.
"She ran to the tent and just shook it and asked, 'Where's your baby? We just pulled one from the sea.' And the mother just screamed," Hutt said.
He said the parents came by to thank him once the child recovered, and the boy looked like nothing had happened. Hutt called him a "lovely, cheeky little fellow."
"He was bloody lucky, but he just wasn't meant to go," he said. "It wasn't his time."