The boy was swept into the ocean at Cowell Ranch State Beach in Half Moon Bay. The boy's father and 8-year-old brother were also swept into the water but they were able to get out.
Rescue crews worked into the darkness and nighttime hours in search of Arunay Pruthi of Fremont.
His father provided us a picture in hopes that someone might have seen him.
Boats and helicopters were used to try and locate the boy.
"We're going to keep looking as long as we can," said supervising ranger Barbara Morris.
Initial responders could actually see the 12-year-old from a cliff seconds after they arrived.
"They saw a boy in the water about a hundred yards out and they lost sight of him, he unfortunately went under, and he has not been seen since," says Cecile Juliette of San Mateo County Fire.
Those officials say Arunay was sitting on the sand when a wave swept him, his father, and 8-year-old brother into the ocean. His father and brother were able to get out.
Witnesses say the waves were strong.
"The surf was really high it was actually kind of more like giant waves one after the other, like a washing machine as if you were in the water," said Lauren Roberge who described the chaotic scene from her location on the other side of the beach.
Monday night Arunay's heartbroken father could barely make out his words, telling us that he is hopeful the search continues until his son is found. Officials are attempting to do just that but, in the morning, when there is light.
"The biggest challenge at night is the lack of light. It's just really dark out there and you can't see really well," said Morris.
NEW INFORMATION: Search for a missing juvenile will continue through the evening. Further investigation reveals an adult & two children, ages 8 & 12, were pulled in by wave. The adult & 8yo were beaten up by waves & pushed back to shore. Boy, 12, pulled under 100 yards offshore. pic.twitter.com/v6OCWn2h56— CAL FIRE CZU (@CALFIRECZU) January 19, 2021
The search continues for the 12 year old Fremont boy who was swept out by the waves at #CowellBeach.— San Mateo County S.O (@SMCSheriff) January 19, 2021
We will use all available resources (boats, helicopters, drones & visual observers) to keep searching for this young man.🙏@USCG @CALFIRECZU @CHP_GoldenGate @CAStateParks https://t.co/ooNDuoTBop
One male, 13 or 14 years old, is missing in the surf off of Cowell Ranch State Beach in San Mateo County. An adult who was rescued is being checked at the scene. pic.twitter.com/Mg9txZO2yT— CAL FIRE CZU (@CALFIRECZU) January 19, 2021
MORE: An adult and a child were standing on the beach, both were swept into the water by a wave. The adult was able to be washed back to the shore. The search for the juvenile male continues. #CowellIncident pic.twitter.com/kkDSLKIeiJ— CAL FIRE CZU (@CALFIRECZU) January 19, 2021