KEALAKEKUA BAY, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) -
There's still no sign of a missing teenager from New York - who was swept out to sea off the Big Island. A massive search continues for 15 year old, Tyler Madoff - who's here in Hawaii on an adventure vacation. Another teenager on the tour remains hospitalized in critical condition.
The Coast Guard, Hawaii County Fire, and some Good Samaritans have been searching the waters off Kealakekua bay since Wednesday afternoon. Rescuers have been blanketing more than 10 miles from shore to sea. The search area runs along the bay's rocky coastline - near the Kaawaloa lighthouse.
"He was seen drifting out by the hike, the members of the hike," says Lt. Leigh Cotterell of the U.S. Coast Guard. "They tried to rescue him, but they weren't successful."
Tyler was with a group of 11 other teens and two counselors Wednesday afternoon - taking a break on shore - during a kayak trip. They decided to cool off in some nearby tidepools near the Captain Cook monument. That's when, by all accounts, a large set of waves came in and swept Tyler - who's from White Plains, New York - and another 15 year old boy - from Florida - out to sea.
"They were hiking on the trail. They were 30 feet inside of the trail. A wave just came up and just picked this group up. Just a freak set. A tragedy," says Rufus Duarte, who witnessed the rescue efforts.
The owner of the kayak company, Hawaii Pack and Paddle, tells Hawaii News Now that his two certified guides jumped in to save the boys. They, along with a fishing boat, rescued the Florida teen – who was flown from the Big Island to Oahu and is now hospitalized in critical condition. Tyler, however, went missing.
"We heard the helicopters like all night long," says resident, Gary Dimond, of the search.The Coast Guard and HFD dispatched their helicopters, a cutter, and divers. Cotterell continues, "The drift models for the search object or person, the wind speed, currents, are all factored into creating that model that guides our searches."
Tyler reportedly came to Hawaii as part of Bold Earth - a high school summer adventure travel program.
The Coast Guard says its crews will continue searching into the night for Tyler.We certainly deeply appreciate all the rescuers and rescue efforts and sincerely pray for Tyler's safe return. As in the article witness Duarte said: " . . . A wave just came up and just picked this group up. Just a freak set. A tragedy!" Unfortunately that's not the first time this kind of things happen nor will it be the last. We just don't know where, when, or how it might happen again. Beach and sea are so alluringly attractive, I am here in th Baha beach in Rio de Janeiro attending a meeting, the hotel in right on the beach. There are so many people out there day in and day out, I guess being swept out to sea is still very much rarely happen. But rare or not even one case happen that will be way too much anyway. Let's all pray peace and safety for all places and all the times.