The family of a New York teenager who disappeared on a trip to Hawaii and is presumed dead has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court in Hawaii, claiming that the guides on their son’s tour made an “outrageously reckless and irresponsible decision” in taking a group of high school students into a “treacherous lava rock area,” according to accounts by the Associated Press and a local Honolulu TV station.
The 15-year-old boy from White Plains, New York was visiting Hawaii with a teen tour group. Both the umbrella group and its local contractors were named in the suit, the news agency reports. According to the AP, while hiking on July 4 the group “stopped to rest at a tide pool, authorities said. The teens were led to an area that’s out of a state-permitted area despite dangerous surf warnings, according to the suit.”
When large waves came into the tide pool the children scrambled for cover but the victim was swept out to sea. The guides and their employers contend that the adults on the scene did all they could to search for and save the victim, but he has been missing ever since and is now presumed dead.
In the wake of any incident like this involving an injured child it is important to take a long, hard look at the circumstances surrounding the accident. The wrongful death suit filed by the parents of the lost 15-year-old is a reminder of the significant responsibility that any company or individual assumes when taking charge of our kids.
From a Portland wrongful death attorney’s perspective a case like this is a powerful reminder of the trust that all of us have to put in others when we leave our children in their care. Just like teachers or coaches, those who lead teen tours need to take special care at all times to ensure that their charges are safe – and to account for their actions when tragedy strikes.
AP via Washington Post: Family of NY teen swept to sea off Hawaii files federal wrongful death, negligence lawsuit