Arunay Pruthi, 12, was with his father and little brother, 8, at Cowell Ranch State Beach, about 30 miles south of San Francisco, when all three were swept into the ocean, officials said.
The water pushed the father and 8-year-old back to shore but Arunay was pulled under about 100 yards offshore, according to Cal Fire’s San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit. (Cal Fire refers to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.)
“He was a reasonably good swimmer,” his father, Tarun Pruthi, told FOX 2 of the San Francisco Bay Area on Tuesday. “It was a warm day but the waves were big.”
“All of us basically managed to [get] back, but he just drifted away,” Pruthi continued.
When first responders arrived, a frantic Pruthi showed them his son in the water — on a day that the Coast Guard said waves and swells reached upward of 10 to 15 feet.
“They got to the edge of the cliff, they looked down and they could see there was one juvenile boy about 100 yards into the water and he got sucked under and they didn’t have eyes on him again,” said Cecile Juliette from Cal Fire San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit.
Lauren Roberge of Danville, said the surf on Monday “was like a washing machine if you were in the water.”
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that they will use all available resources “boats, helicopters, drones & visual observers” to keep searching for Arunay.
Authorities said they used aircraft with thermal imaging technology to search at night. The search was called off on Monday night, only to resume again early on Tuesday.
At daybreak, crews started looking about 10 miles from the shore. By noon, the search was called off again.
“This is a very difficult decision to suspend the search,” said Coast Guard member Howard Wright, according to FOX 2. “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.”
“If we receive any additional information then we will plan additional searches,” Wright continued.
His family, however, said they won’t rest until Arunay — who was last seen wearing a white swim top and green swim shorts — is home with them.
“We have to find him at least,” Pruthi told FOX 2.