The parents of the Westchester teenager swept out to sea in Hawaii are both grieving and outraged. They say Tyler Madoff never had to die, and they want the group behind the adventure tour he was on to shoulder the blame. Ida Siegal reports. (Published Wednesday, July 11, 2012)
The parents of a Westchester teenager killed in Hawaii while on an adventure tour said they're angry that the tour company is failing to take responsibility for the their son's death.
"It's disgusting," said Michael Madoff. "I'm not even talking legal liability. From a human perspective, that's disgusting."
Michael Madoff's 15-year-old son Tyler, a star athlete from White Plains, was swept out to sea while on the tour last week. Michael and his wife received the call at 2 a.m. just over a week ago.
"We spent that night devastated, crying," he said. "Family members were coming over."
The group was reportedly on a cliff when witnesses said an enormous wave crashed upon them, knocking Tyler unconscious and whisking him out into the ocean. Tour guides scrambled to rescue the other teens.
The Madoff family accused the Bold Earth Tour company of failing to take any responsibility for the incident -- it has not apologized or expressed condolences, and has even lied about it, Michael Madoff alleged.
In a statement, Bold Earth blamed nature and a local Hawaiian tour group with them for ignoring rough-water warnings. But the Madoffs said that local group saved the lives of all the other teens, and that it was the Bold Earth guides who decided to ignore the danger warnings.
Madoff also said he is upset by media reports that his son veered away from the group, which he does not believe.
Michael Madoff said it's a warning for parents about these kinds of teen tours.
"There are other teenagers out there on these tours in this company's charge, and they need to know what type of people are running the show," he said.
Get the latest from NBC 4 New York anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Get our apps here and sign up for email newsletters here. Get breaking news delivered right to your phone -- just text NYBREAKING to 639710. For more info, text HELP. To end, text STOP. Message and data rates may apply.
Published at 6:42 PM EST on Jul 11, 2012