FREMONT (CBS SF) — The family of the 12-year-old Fremont boy who was lost in high surf at Cowell Ranch State Beach in San Mateo County earlier this week is offering a $50,000 reward for finding and positively identifying the child.
Arunay Pruthi was swept to sea as he tried to help his father an younger brother after they were knocked down by a rogue wave at the Half Moon Bay beach Monday afternoon.READ MORE: Bay Area Health Workers Cheer Newly-Approved 1-Shot Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
Those two were able to get out of the water, but Arunay was carried off by a rip current.
The U.S. Coast Guard suspended the search for Arunay late Tuesday morning.
Tuesday evening, friends and family set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to finance the continuing search effort. Since then, the GoFundMe campaign has already raised over $175,000 from more than 3,400 donors.
The organizers of the campaign posted an update Wednesday, announcing the $50,000 reward and detailing the efforts to find Arunay that were continuing. Organizers raised the initially stated fundraising goal to cover anticipated additional search expenses.
Organizers said the Pillar Point Harbor Patrol ran an official search with boat and jet skis by the oceanside Wednesday morning, while a rented helicopter “conducted multiple sorties with two volunteers aboard” searching area coves, beaches and waterfront from the Half Moon Bay Airport to the Pigeon Point Lighthouse from an altitude ranging between 40 feet and 1,200 feet.READ MORE: Antioch Gas Station Shooting Leaves Man Suffering Life-Threatening Injuries
While the search initially only planned to rent the helicopter for 3-4 hours, they extended the time to 8 hours because of the perfect weather conditions and visibility. There was also a volunteer boat scouted the waterfront for many hours Wednesday afternoon.
Family said there were “hundreds of volunteers” engaged in the search landside, checking beaches and water access points at San Gregorio State Beach, Pescadaro State Beach, Bean Hollow State Beach, Waddel Beach, Cowell Ranch State Beach where Arunay was lost all the way south to Santa Cruz.
There were also multiple drone teams flying over several access points. Organizers were collecting all drone photos and videos and uploading to a central location so “volunteers can review the footage and identify anything that needs further investigation.”
Search effort organizers have also posted flyers at beaches from San Francisco south to Monterey County and on .
Additional funds from donations are earmarked to be used for additional helicopter rental time as well as renting boats and jet skis for the continued ocean search. The family is also investigating the cost of “hiring a search and rescue team with specialized sonar equipment, divers and deep sea searches based on recommendation of authorities.”
The family has also set up a Facebook page that will include updates to the search for Arunay.MORE NEWS: Hundreds Rally in San Mateo to Denounce Violence Against Asian Americans
The GoFundMe page said any remaining funds that don’t go towards the effort would be donated to a charity of the Pruthi family’s choice