NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Relatives and friends told stories and comforted each other at a memorial service for a 15-year-old from White Plains who was swept out to sea in Hawaii.
“He was hungry for a journey, hungry for adventure,” said Scarsdale High School English teacher Rachel Warshowsky.
Tyler was a bright, athletic kid who had just completed his sophomore year at Scarsdale High School. He was also a member of the Pelham Community Rowing Association Youth Program crew team.
At the memorial service Thursday, Michael Madoff addressed his late son and said, “You were truly a gift from heaven, a prince
among men. — Tyler, you are now our prince among the angels.”
Clutching his daughter, Mykaela, and son, Dylan, Madoff said, “We are still a family of five. We will always be a family of five.”
Tyler’s mother, Marianne Madoff, who was born in France, said more relatives were gathering simultaneously at memorials in Paris and Brittany.
“Tyler has gone on a different journey and we must learn to live a different journey of our own,” she said.
Tyler’s crew coach, Guy Monseair, praised Tyler’s strength and attitude and said the Pelham Community Rowing Association had named a new boat the “Tyler.” When new recruits ask about the boat’s name through the decades, he said, “Tyler
will inspire children who will never meet him.”
The 15-year-old was hiking on July 4 during a youth kayak expedition organized by a company called Bold Earth Expeditions on the west coast of the Big Island. He and another teen were swept out to sea while resting at a tidal pool with huge waves.
Tyler’s parents have criticized the tour company, saying the tour leader was wrong to hike in the area where their son died after a local guide allegedly warned him not to.
“No way those teenagers should have been on shoreline at that time of day. There was a high surf warning and advisories and either he didn’t know about that or he did. Either way, our boy is not coming back,” Michael Madoff said earlier this month.
In a statement from Hawaii, Bold Earth’s owner said his people did the best they could under difficult circumstances. The owner of the kayak company told a Hawaii news station that the guides jumped in to save boys, but couldn’t reach Tyler.
The second teen, 15-year-old Matthew Alzate of Miami, was initially hospitalized in critical condition. He said he doesn’t remember much from that day, but said kayak guide Ola Reed helped pull him from the dangerous surf.
He is still recovering from his injuries.
Tyler’s body has not been recovered. A Facebook page has been set up to honor his memory.
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