HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii officials have revoked a permit for a kayak tour company that led a group of teens when one from New York was swept out to sea on the Big Island.
The permit was revoked Friday. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources had recommended the revocation after three violations on July 4, when 15-year-old Tyler Madoff was swept away by large waves. His body was never found, and he is presumed dead.
The family of the teen from White Plains, N.Y., filed a lawsuit, claiming tour guides were negligent.
But Bob Frame, a lawyer for Hawaii Pack and Paddle, suggested the teens or the Colorado guides along for the trip pressured the local guides to deviate from the planned route. Frame asked the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources for more time to talk with witnesses and piece together what happened.
"The company had a sterling safety record prior to this incident," said Frame, a lawyer for company owner Bari Mims. "Unusual circumstances resulted in the deviation."
The board rescinded Hawaii Pack and Paddle's permit but will allow Frame to present more details at an Oct. 12 meeting. The company still will be operating then because the revocation takes effect in 30 days.
Curt Cottrell, assistant state parks administrator, said the group walked roughly a quarter-mile from the approved route in Kealakekua Bay to an off-limits tide pool.
The group included 12 teens, plus two Hawaii Pack and Paddle guides and two guides from a Colorado company that organized the larger trip. The teens and guides were hiking near a monument to British explorer Captain James Cook when they stopped to rest at the tide pool. That's when large waves washed away Madoff and another 15-year-old boy. The other teen, from Miami, Fla., eventually was rescued.
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