N.Y. Parents of Teen Lost at Sea Blame Hawaii Tour Group
Parents of a New York teen who went missing in the waters off Hawaii blame a tour group for their son's disappearance after a wave swept him out to sea.
The wave pulled Tyler Madoff, 15, out to sea six days ago after a hiking and kayaking expedition with a tour group from Bold Earth Teen Adventures in Hawaii. The 6-foot wave hit the tour group on Kealakekua Bay, sending Tyler and five other teens into the water. The five were rescued, with a 15-year-old boy still recovering in a Honolulu hospital.
The search for Tyler ended Monday evening after fire officials classified his disappearance as a fatality. His father, Michael Madoff, blamed Bold Earth Teen Adventures after team leaders from the company led the group into the bay even though officials from the Department of Land and Natural Resources warned that they were not allowed to hike or kayak in the area and the group apparently had no permit to be there.
"The people of Bold Earth ... have shown poor judgment and extremely poor character," Madoff said.
He said, however, that there are no plans at this time to take legal action.
Abbott Wallis, the owner of Bold Earth Teen Adventure, said in a statement to ABC News the company did "the very best they could under extremely difficult circumstances."
At a news conference at the Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa Sunday, Madoff thanked those who searched. "You saved other families from the great sadness we feel. ... You are heroes," he said.
A junior at Scarsdale High School in Westchester County, Tyler played outside linebacker for the varsity football team. He won a state medal for the Pelham Community Rowing Association. His coaches and friends told ABC News station WABC he was a leader.
"The kids are devastated," coach Andrew Verboys said. "Obviously, the team is devastated, but the one thing they do have is each other."
Friend James Nicholas said, "He's a role model for all of us. He was one of the nicest kids in high school. He cheered everybody up."
Coach Guy Monseair said, "Our hearts go out to the family. I can't imagine their grief, their pain. I do know that we loved Tyler."
Michael Madoff and his wife, Marianne, are back in White Plains with their two other children.
Remembering his son, Madoff said, "You're the best of your mother and you're the best of me. You brought smiles and joy to everybody"