Latino Teen Recovering From Freak Kayak Accident In Hawaii

A summer adventure in Hawaii turned into a fight to survive for teenager Matthew Alzate.

Alzate is a sophomore at Miami Killian Senior High School and is now slowly recovering at a Honolulu hospital. Alzate and 11 other teens took part in a kayaking expedition on Hawaii's big island on July 4. When they stopped to rest at a tide pool, a series of large waves suddenly slammed down on the group.

Tour Guide Letisha Mims said all she heard was a loud noise. "All I heard was a boom, and I looked up, and what I saw was a hand-shaped wave just come over our heads and next thing I know, is me and my group of four we just dropped," said Mims.

The waves washed out Alzate and another teen. Tour guides Nolan Reed and Letisha Mims tried to keep others within the tide pool. "I was yelling to the kids to get up to the rocks, get up to the rocks. The second wave hit us, it washed us even further to the drainage zone of the tide pool," said Reed.

Trying to calm the chaos, group leaders heard a call for help from Alzate as he was swept out to sea, after dropping from a waterfall.

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One of the tour guides jumped into action. "I did a head count, I knew that there was two that got swept out. I saw Nolan Reed get to Matt," said Mims.

"His leg, it was snapped, so I stabilized his head and leg and performed correct CPR at this point," said Reed.

Alzate was saved but there are no signs of 15-year-old Tyler Madoff, who was also swept out to sea. Search efforts have since been called off for the New York teen.

Madoff's parents criticized the tour company, which officials said did not have a permit to visit the tidal pool. "The people from Bold Earth Expeditions have shown poor judgment and extremely poor character. None of the Bold Earth people stayed on the site to continue the search for our son, Tyler," said Michael Madoff

The founder of the company addressed the tragedy and said: "A freak accident that occurred in a split second, and everyone did what they could."

For more stories: WSVN 7 News 

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