Teen in kayak accident speaks out
UNDATED (WSVN) -- A South Florida teen who was swept out to sea during a summer trip in Hawaii is speaking out about the incident.
A 15-year-old now recovering in a hospital in Hawaii, more than 4,000 miles away, will soon be coming home to South Florida.
Matthew Alzate, who almost lost his life, will soon be reunited with the hero who was there to save it. "You are going to have stories to tell about those, man," said tour guide Nolan Reed.
Alzate sustained several injuries after being swept out to sea off the big island of Hawaii. For now, the sophomore at Miami Killian Senior High School knows how lucky he is just to be here. "I'm a lot better than when I came in, because, from what I've heard, I was almost dead," said Alzate.
Alzate, along with 11 other teens, took part in a kayaking expedition when the summer adventure went from fun to frightening. "All I heard was a boom, and I looked up, and I saw a hand-shaped wave just come over our heads," recalled tour guide Letisha Mims.
The group was resting at a tide pool when they were suddenly slammed by a series of large waves. "I was yelling for the kids, 'Get up to the rocks! Get up to the rocks!" said Reed.
The waves washed away Alzate and another teen before Reed jumped into the battering surf to pull Alzate to safety. Reed said, "His leg, it was snapped, so I stabilized not only his head, I stabilized his leg, and I performed correct CPR at this point."
Sadly, the other teen, Tyler Madoff from White Plains, New York, remains missing and is feared dead.
Alzate is recovering in a Honolulu hospital with his family by his side. One visitor in particular was a welcome sight for the South Florida teen. "I'm always going to be there for you through thick and thin, just like a big brother," Reed told Alzate.
"It was just an unexplained event that happened," Reed said, "and literally, in that moment, you know it was either a rise to the occasion or run away and hide."
Madoff's body was never recovered and rescuers have called off the search.
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