POSTED: 12:04 p.m. HST, Jul 6, 2012
Family and friends of a missing 15-year-old New York boy swept out to sea near Kealakekua Bay are gathering for support and praying that Tyler Madoff is still alive.
Just knowing how fit and strong he is, you cant help but think that, if anyone could survive being swept out to sea, it would be him, Guy Monseair, Madoffs rowing coach, told The Journal News/LoHud.com in White Plains, N.Y.
Monseair said Madoff is a strong rower whose team won a silver medal at the New York State Rowing Championship in the spring. He is also a starting linebacker for the varsity football team at Scarsdale High School.
The Coast Guard called off its search for Madoff Thursday night.
But Hawaii County firefighters, private boaters and volunteers in kayaks resumed searching this morning for Madoff, who was one of two 15-year-old boys swept out to sea by a large wave Wednesday afternoon. The other boy, of Miami, Fla., was eventually rescued and was taken in critical condition to Kona Community Hospital and then flown to the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu.
"We'll just continue and hope for the best," Hawaii County Fire Department Battalion Chief Reuben Chun told the Associated Press. "So far, there are no reports of anything new at this time." Ocean conditions continued to be rough today off the rocky shore near the Captain Cook monument at Kealakekua Bay where Madoff's group was hiking and exploring tide pools.
Nine Hawaii County fire rescue personnel are searching the area today and planned to continue their efforts on Saturday.
Members of Tyler Madoff family were heading to Hawaii from White Plains, N.Y. Thursday.
"We are tremendously grateful for the support and prayers of our community but at this time request our privacy during this difficult time," family members said in a written statement to the Journal News Thursday.
Madoffs rowing teammates at Pelham Community Rowing are gathering tonight for support.
Its important for the kids to share their feelings and be able to talk, Monseair said.
Carol Ashe, 86, a neighbor, said she is praying for the family.
She said Tyler, who has two siblings, was always willing to help her out and shoveled her driveway during the winter.
"He was the sweetest person in the whole world," she told the New York newspaper. "He always asked me how I am and what can I do for you."
Scarsdale schools superintendent Michael McGill said in a statement: "We're deeply concerned for Tyler, and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family at this difficult time.Barney Foltman, a physical education teacher at Scarsdale High School, said he's known Tyler since he was in middle school. "Everybody's very distraught about it and it's a tragedy," he said. "He is an outstanding kid from an outstanding family and our hearts go out to the family."