Search underway for missing boater off Hawaii Island

Youth with a Mission (YWAM) Ships Kona owns and operates the Hawaii Aloha vessel.

At about 5:45 a.m. Saturday, the 74-foot sailboat got into trouble in waters off Kaupulehu. Five people were on board.

“The report that I’m hearing from the crew firsthand is that a large set of waves hit them on the beam on the side. And it capsized the boat. Went completely over about three times,” said Brett Curtis, director of YWAM Ships Kona.

That’s when 22-year-old crew member Aaron Bremner went missing.

“They tried to go back down into the room to find Aaron and his door was locked and jammed tight. There was something against it and they couldn’t budge it,” said Curtis.

The four other crew members had to abandon ship. So they got into a life raft and fired off emergency flares. The Hawaii County Fire Department responded and brought them safely to shore.

“The captain had sustained injuries. She went to the hospital. She’s since been discharged. The other three are ok,” said Curtis.

Bremner, an Orange County, Calif. native, joined YWAM more than two years ago. He and his team were preparing for an upcoming mission trip to Christmas Island. They’re supposed to leave this Tuesday.

“He was a great young man, 22 years of age. Trained. Loved it. Had been deployed all last year with Hawaii Aloha out in Micronesia. And had returned to Kona for some additional training,” said Curtis. “Our concern right now is just for Aaron and that’s what we’re putting all our attention to right now.”

The fire department will resume its search Monday at first light. The Coast Guard will continue its search overnight.

1-3 Big Island Aground Boat 1

1-3 Big Island Aground Boat 2

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