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Tour Company May Lose Permit Over Tyler Madoff Death

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Hawaii Pack and Paddle (HPP) may lose its permit to operate kayak tours of a state park after a tour on July 4 led to White Plains teen Tyler Madoff’s disappearance at sea and presumed death .

After the incident that swept Tyler, 15, out to sea, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources began an investigation, which revealed three violations, according to an agenda for the Board of Land and Natural Resources' meeting Friday.

At the meeting, the department will recommend the state revoke HPP’s permit because it: conducted a tour with 13 passengers when the permit allows only 12, exceeded the two-and-a-half hour maximum landing time and deviated from the areas they were authorized to take a group.

The department added in its recommendation that HPP under-reported the number of passengers on the July 4 tour. Initial reports indicated there were 12 students in the group that went on an all-day hike and kayak tour of the state park. While taking a break in a tide pool near Kealakekua Bay, waves swept a half-dozen of the teens into the bay at 2:45 p.m. All were recovered, except Tyler.

HPP owner Bari Mims declined to comment.

Tyler’s parents, Michael and Marianne Madoff, filed a wrongful death lawsuit Aug. 21 against HPP and Bold Earth Teen Adventures, which organizes teen summer trips. The lawsuit seeks punitive damages for negligence and infliction of emotional distress.

Susan Karten, the family’s lawyer, has said the two HPP guides and two Bold Earth guides encouraged the teens to veer off the designated trail they were hiking to stop at a tide pool. The guides reportedly called it the "fun zone," Karten said.

A search and rescue mission was called off a few days after Tyler went missing and he was presumed dead. A memorial service was held in late July.

Hawaii Pack and Paddle is one of four companies that hold permits to operate tours in the area of the Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park.

At its meeting Friday, the Board of Land and Natural Resources will consider the recommendation to revoke HPP's permit.

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