Search underway for Hayward teen swept out to sea in Half Moon Bay

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- The search continues for a Hayward high school senior who was pulled out to sea near Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay.

According to the victim's best friend's family, Naphtali Moi Moi was pulled out to sea by a rip tide. And his friend, A.J. Irwine tried his hardest to save him.

Janet Sylvester is A.J.'s grandmother. "A.J. yelled out to him to float on his back and watch the waves and A.J. got sucked into the undertow as well and he felt like he was drowning," she said.

Moi Moi was last seen face down in the water.

He and his friends had been boogie boarding when a rip tide snuck up on them.

San Mateo County Fire Battalion Chief Brian Ham said, "What a rip current is is basically the current of the ocean and sometimes when you have two currents battling each other, it causes the rip currents to be put out to sea."

Friends and family refuse to leave Poplar Beach, where they had come on spring break, to spend their final days together before graduating.

Moi Moi had big plans to play football.

Sylvester said, "He was a gifted athlete. We've known him since he was a baby and he had a full ride scholarship to the University of Wyoming. I feel so sorrowful for the family. All their hopes were in him."
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