- Arunay Pruthi went missing on Jan. 18 after he was dragged into the rogue wave at Cowell Ranch State Beach.
The family of Arunay Pruthi has decided to cease all search activities for the 12-year-old who went missing after he was swept into the ocean at a beach in California’s San Mateo county on Jan. 18. Arunay of Fremont was with his father, Tarun Pruthi, and his 8-year-old brother, at Cowell Ranch State Beach near Half Moon Bay, on what was an unusually warm day.
The seventh grader was standing on the beach with his father and brother when they were swept all to sea. While the father and the 8-year-old managed to fight the waves and push back to shore, Arunay was pulled under 100 yards off shore.
Tarun Pruthi told KPIX 5 at the time that he cannot fathom how a day at the beach went terribly wrong. “It was just very big waves, I guess. We didn’t expect it,” the distraught father said. “The waves were pretty big. It threw me around for a while. I just managed to barely make it,” he said.
“The family has decided to cease all active search activities from March 1, 2021,” read the announcement on the Facebook page, Search for Arunay Pruthi. “In that spirit, we have also decided to withdraw the $50K reward, and desire people to stop actively searching for him.” The Pruthi family had earlier offered $50,000 to anyone who locates the missing child who was last seen wearing a white shirt and green shorts.
Noting that the decision to stop searching for Pruthi “was an incredibly hard decision to make,” the family said, “we truly believe it is the right one. We have done everything humanly possible to find Arunay. Now it is time to focus on healing and moving forward with the help of this community. We will keep the flame of hope alive in our hearts.”
Family, friends and volunteers came together over a month ago to look for Arunay with the help of local fishermen, surfers and experts, chopper, boat and drone operators, and hundreds of volunteers.
“We believe Arunay brought us all together for a reason,” the announcement says. “For a higher purpose. This is not an end. This is a new beginning. And Arunay will not be just another statistic.” To that effect, the family says it will devote itself to “the cause of improving awareness, beach safety, and water skill training required to prevent beach drownings so that, never again will a family lose a loved one to the sea.”
To aid the search for Arunay, family and friends had sent up a GoFundMe page to pay for an independent search effort. They closed donations after $215,178 was raised. The money was used to support the operations and logistics involved with the effort like hiring drones teams, a beachcombing team, a boat team and a plane and helicopter.
There was also a petition by Arunay’s friends at change.org to continue his search. “Our friend was swept by the sea and is lost,” the petition says. “We are confident that he is still alive because Arunay is an excellent swimmer and would like your help to save this child’s life. Many more events like this could happen. We would like your help to prevent this from happening in the future. Your support can help make the difference in the life of both a family and a 12 year old boy with many more to come. Please join us in helping Arunay Pruthi, as every pair of eyes out there matter! Remember, a small amount from everyone can help save his life. We will be using all this money to help find him and do a massive advanced search.”