An Indian American family from Fremont, Calif., is completely shattered after their 12-year-old son was swept away by a sneaker wave at a beach in Half Moon Bay Jan. 18.
Arunay Pruthi, a seventh grader at BASIS Independent Fremont, and his family had taken advantage of the warm weather on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and headed off to the Cowell Ranch State Beach in San Mateo County, not realizing the danger of the surf, reported KTVU Fox 2.
“He was a reasonably good swimmer,” Tarun Pruthi, his father, told the news channel. “It was a warm day, but the waves were big.”
Tarun Pruthi and his younger son, who is 8, were also swept into the water by the waves – which were as high as 15 feet – but managed to get back unlike Arunay who just “drifted away,” he was quoted as saying.
Using boats and helicopters, the U.S. Coast Guard searched for the boy into the early morning hours of Jan. 19 and then again after sunrise. Not just the Coast Guard, but teams from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department, Coastside Firefighters, California State Parks and the San Mateo County Harbor District were involved in the search operation.
Arunay was pulled under about 100 yards offshore, Cal Fire San Mateo informed on Twitter.
By noon Jan. 19, with no luck, they called off the search. But his case remains open and additional searches will be conducted following any new leads.
“This is a very difficult decision to suspend the search,” KTVU Fox 2 quoted Coast Guard member Howard Wright, as saying. “The Coast Guard focuses on rescue activities to find a live person and we suspend the search when we are no longer confident that we’re going to be able to rescue the victim.”
Tarun Pruthi has provided Arunay’s photo to various news channels in hopes that someone might have seen him.
The family has also set up a Facebook page where they are hoping for any tips about Arunay’s whereabouts. They are also sharing updates about the case on the Facebook page.
The page, titled, “Search for Arunay Pruthi,” shared Jan. 19 that even though the Coast Guard has called off the search, volunteers are not only combing beaches in the area but are also helping put out posters with contact information. They are now requesting people who have drones featuring high-resolution cameras to help them in scanning different parts of the coastline.
“We have to find him at least,” Tarun Pruthi told KTVU Fox 2.