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State: Tour company did not have permit for area where teen swept away

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 11:37 a.m. HST, Jul 10, 2012

The tour company that took a group of teenagers on a hike where a New York teen was swept out to sea didn't have a permit to be in the tide pool area where the incident happened, state officials said Monday. 

Hawaii Pack and Paddle has a permit from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to take kayaks to a specific spot in the bay and hike along a designated trail. But department spokeswoman Deborah Ward said the tide pool area falls outside the area covered by the permit. 

Tyler Madoff, 15, of White Plains, N.Y., was on a kayaking expedition on the west coast of the Big Island last week with a tour group. They were hiking near the Captain Cook monument at Kealakekua Bay when they stopped to rest at a tide pool, authorities said. That's when large waves washed away Madoff and another 15-year-old boy. 

The other teen, from Miami, Fla., was eventually rescued and is recovering in a Honolulu hospital. 

Madoff was with a group of 11 other 14- and 15-year-olds, along with two contracted guides from Hawaii Pack & Paddle and two Bold Earth Teen Adventures team leaders, said Abbott Wallis, founder of Colorado-based Bold Earth, which organizes teen adventure tours on six continents. 

Ward said the department would decide whether to take action against the company after investigating.

Bari Mims, Hawaii Pack and Paddle owner, said his company is permitted to operate in the area. He also said all of his guides are certified and qualified.

"They went well and above their duties as far as saving lives. That's what it comes down to saving peoples lives. They saved 11 out of 12 lives," Mims said. 

Michael Madoff told the Associated Press on Monday he and his wife, Marianne, are back home in White Plains to be with their two other children. "We just need to be with our family," he said. 

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