Coast Guard: Search Called Off For Missing White Plains Teen Swept Out To Sea

Tyler Madoff, of White Plains, went missing after being swept out to sea on July 4 in Honolulu.

The U.S. Coast Guard today told Patch that the intensive search and rescue operations for missing Scarsdale High School student Tyler Madoff has been halted.

Fifteen-year-old Madoff, of White Plains, was swept out to sea in Honolulu July 4, after resting in a tide pool after a hike with a youth group, Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony L. Soto, with the 14th Coast Guard District Public Affairs Office, said today.

Madoff and another teen, reported to be from Florida, were both knocked down by the waves, but only Madoff was swept to sea, Soto said.

"The Coast Guard has suspended the search pending any new information or developments," Soto said today.

Since Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard and Hawaii County Fire Department crews, along with good Samaritans with boats, had been searching for Madoff. He had been "hiking along the shoreline near the Captain Cook monument in the vicinity of Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island, Wednesday," USCG said in a statement.

Hawaii County Fire notified the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center of the situation on July 4 at 5:30 p.m., according to the USCG.

The search included a cutter, a dolphin helicopter, another helicopter, a rescue boat and divers.

The report the USCG received stated "a set of waves came up and swept the 15-year-old into the sea."

Rescue crews searched 185 square miles, according to the USCG.

Theresa Orsogna July 07, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Lord have mercy!
gail burlakoff July 07, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Just a point of information: the "Big Island" of Hawaii is quite far from Honolulu, which is a city on the island of Oahu. The Coast Guard may be based in Honolulu, but that is not where the boys were. Very sad accident.
Paula July 07, 2012 at 10:58 PM
I heard the search is back on. Keep up hope.
Sushi July 12, 2012 at 07:51 PM
I had this happen to me when I was just 3 years old! Sitting in a tide pool and a series of waves come up and knocked me over and over again. I couldn't breathe and kept trying to stand up and search for the light and air. All I saw was white lights and waves. But then to my disbelief, I ended up on the shoreline somehow and I have not forgotten about that to this day all these years gone by. It's either sheer luck or it was not my time to go. Either way, the moments that it is happening are the most frightening thing you can imagine for a young child, a very young child as I was at the time. I am an excellent swimmer but I have been petrified of the big waves in the ocean because of this my entire life. I know how real the strength and force of mother nature is for mere mortals. Never have a false sense of security around water no matter how confident you are as a swimmer. Accidents happen all the time!
Isaac Schinazi July 18, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Unfortunately this is a very common occurrence at beaches. People have to be taught that whenever they are swept out to sea by big waves they should not try to swim back to shore. The current is too strong and will eventually wear you out. That is how many people drown, by fatigue trying to fight the current. Instead, let the current take you out a little to behind where the waves break and then swim parallel to the shore for just a little until you get out of the tidal current going out to sea. This way you can swim back to shore without fighting the current. It is counterintuitive to let the waves take you out to sea when you're trying to get back to the beach but once you are out a little you can just swim to the sides and use less effort coming back.
Isaac Schinazi July 18, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Also, and most important, my condolences to the Madoff family.
Sushi July 18, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Yes - most important is the condolences to this poor family - no greater tragedy can happen to a person than losing their most precious and beloved children. No words can even come close to explaining how deeply people's sympathies are today. Isaac - you bring up a great point - education is the best defense, if there is one, in the prevent of drowning tragedies such as this one. I have heard what you describe as the best offense/defense against a rip tide or when being swept out to sea. My only question would be that often, large waves follow one another in succcession, and not just an isolated incident. So if that is the case, and we keep swimming further out to sea (or let the current tides take you out a little behind where the waves are breaking as you state) that is presuming that one is able to actually get behind the oncoming waves in order to swim parallel to shore. I think what your saying is the best practical advice out there from a lifeguarding handbook but in places like Hawaii for instance, there are multiple huge waves and riptides that prevent getting out to sea and beyond the waves to a point where you can swim to shore. And what happens then is that the swimmer keeps drifting further and further out to sea and is eventually swept under. I keep thinking about my own experience here as a 3 yr old and I just remember the panic and the drive to get to shore and stand above the waves. . An instinctive reaction no doubt without a lifeguard in sight.


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