Fremont boy's tragic drowning death inspires life ring stations at Peninsula beaches

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Thursday, November 11, 2021
Boy's drowning death inspires safety stations along San Mateo coast
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A family who lost their 12-year-old son to a drowning accident earlier this year wants no one else to feel the pain they were forced to feel.

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- A family who lost their 12-year-old son to a drowning accident earlier this year wants no one else to feel the pain they were forced to feel.

The search for Arunay Pruthi lasted nearly two months before it was called off at Cowell Ranch State Beach in Half Moon Bay.

Now months later, Arunay's legacy lives on through emergency life rings newly installed in Half Moon Bay.

The sound of waves crashing is calming to many, but for the Pruthi family it has a different meaning.

In January, their 12-year-old son Arunay lost his life after being drug out to sea by a sneaker wave.

RELATED: Coast Guard suspends search for boy swept out to sea at Cowell Ranch State Beach

The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended the search for a 12-year-old boy who was swept into the ocean at Cowell Ranch State Beach in San Mateo County on Monday.

But through tragedy, the family found their purpose.

"Arunay battled the ocean waves for 15 minutes before they eventually took him down," Arunay Foundation Secretary Vikram Saxena said on behalf of the family Wednesday. "Our hope is in the event of any unfortunate incident like that, family members, bystanders and first responders have the necessary equipment accessible to them to mount a rescue."

Now that equipment is now available in Half Moon Bay.

Thanks to the vision of Arunay Foundation, three emergency life rings are now in place.

The foundation seeks to educate, equip and inform. Wednesday's ribbon cutting ceremony of the life rings is their mission put into action.

"When I look at this life ring right here, I don't just see a life ring," CALFIRE Deputy Chief Jonathon Cox said. "I see a daughter that's going to be surviving in the future or a son. I see Arunay's legacy living on."

19 lives, including Arunay's, were lost along the California coast this year.

Arunay drowned trying to save his eight-year-old brother. Arunay's brother survived and with these rings, others may too.

"It's inspiring for me to see that out of tragedy, comes hope for others," San Mateo County Sheriff Carlos Bolanos said. "I'm assured, that with this new tool, lives will be saved."

Two rings are stationed near Pillar Point Harbor and another one at the famous Maverick's beach.

The rings come through a partnership with Sea Valor, the nonprofit who helped design them.

The hope is no family has to suffer like the Pruthi's ever again.

"I can't imagine what it would be like for a parent to watch for 15 minutes as your son is treading water and yelling for help and there's nothing you can do and nothing you can throw to him," Sea Valor Founder and Exec. Director Eric Jones said. "Clearly, swimming out to him wasn't going to work and so, if these save just one life, or one or two lives over the years, it will definitely be worth it."

To learn more information about the Arunay Foundation, visit the website here.