California family offers $50,000 reward for locating boy swept out to sea

California family offers $50,000 reward for locating boy swept out to sea

January 21, 2021

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A 12-year-old boy was swept out to sea this week in California, and his desperate family is offering a $50,000 reward for his recovery.

Arunay Pruthi, of Fremont, was sitting on sand at the water’s edge at Cowell Ranch State Beach in Half Moon Bay Monday with his father, Tarun, and his 8-year-old brother when a so-called “sneaker wave” dragged all three out to sea, KTVU reported.

“All of us basically managed to get back but he just drifted away,” Tarun Pruthi said, noting waves in the area south of San Francisco were as big as 15 feet.

“It was just very big waves, I guess,” Tarun told CBS San Francisco. “We didn’t expect it. The waves were pretty big. It threw me around for a while. I just managed to barely make it.”

Arunay — a “reasonably good swimmer,” according to his father – did not make it back onto the beach and a subsequent Coast Guard search for the boy was called off just before noon Tuesday, Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. Toni Pehrson confirmed.

“This was a very difficult decision to suspend the search,” Coast Guard Capt. Howard Wright told KTVU. “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.”

Wright said additional searches could occur if new information regarding Arunay is received. The boy’s family, meanwhile, hopes a $50,000 reward for “locating and positively identifying” the seventh-grader will lead to his recovery.

Arunay went into the water at 3:45 p.m. Monday. A reward poster indicates he was wearing a white shirt and green shorts at the time, as he family took advantage of warm weather that day with a visit to the beach.

“Anyone with specialized equipment like boars, sonars, planes, submersible, diving/SCUBA gear who can deploy, please do so now as time is essential,” the poster reads. “We will independently fund any effort needed to recover Arunay after definitive identification.”

Rescue crews briefly spotted Arunay about 100 yards offshore before he went under, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.  

“It’s almost become a cliché,” Pehrson told the newspaper. “But you never turn your back on the waves. It is definitely a good idea to keep an eye on what’s happening and to pay attention to your kids.”

Sneaker waves and rough seas have been attributed in seven deaths along Northern California beaches since Dec. 30, Pehrson said.

In one instance, a 40-year-old father, Michael Wyman, drowned on Jan. 3 while trying to save his 4-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter — who also presumably drowned — at Blind Beach in Sonoma Coast State Park south of Jenner.

An online fundraiser set up for the ongoing search and rescue effort for Arunay has surpassed $149,000.

With Post wires

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