WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The tide pool where White Plains teen Tyler Madoff was washed out to sea on July 4 off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island was outside the designated trail the tour company leading the group of students was permitted to travel, according to published reports.
Bold Earth Teen Adventures has hired Hawaii Pack and Paddle to lead its student trips in Hawaii for around 20 years. Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources gave Pack and Paddle a permit allowing it to hike along a specific trail on Kealakekua Bay, Deborah Ward, department spokesperson, said in published reports.
Ward did not return two calls for comment on Tuesday.
"That's why we hired Hawaii Pack and Paddle, to professionally guide us on a safe and legal trip," Abbott Wallis, founder of Bold Earth told the White Plains Daily Voice. "I don't know the definition of their permit, so I think that's the source of a lot of the fingers pointed our way."
Bari Mims, owner of Pack and Paddle, didn't return a call for comment, but has said in published reports that the group was permitted to be there.
The group was resting in the tide pool near Kealakekua Bay when a wave washed Madoff and another boy into the ocean below. The two Pack and Paddle tour guides leading the group jumped in after them and recovered and resuscitated the second boy.
Tyler has been missing since, and the U.S. Coast Guard search was called off Thursday night.
Tyler's father Michael Madoff has said Bold Earth's two guides, also on the hike July 4, showed "extremely poor character" for not pursuing the boys in the water.
Wallis said Pack and Paddle has led successful tours of Hawaii for them over the course of 20 years, but added that Michael Madoff's comments were based on information Pack and Paddle gave him about what happened after the wave hit July 4.
"The company that has the permit that's trying to point fingers is the source of Mr. Madoff's information about what was done, wasn't done, why it was done," Wallis said. "Our guides did everything possible to save these kids. Our guides are professional, and we were on a guided kayak, snorkel, hike and dinner and lunch experience that lasted from 8:30 in the morning to 9 at night. Everything we did was under their guidance. That's what they do."
The Madoff family said it will not pursue any legal action against Bold Earth, but the Department of Land and Natural Resources is expected to investigate the incident.