Family of missing Big Island sailor relying on faith - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Family of missing Big Island sailor relying on faith

NORTH KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the search continues for a missing sailor off the Big Island, his relatives are relying on their faith during this tough time. Aaron Bremner, 24, vanished on Saturday morning when the sailboat Hawaii Aloha capsized in stormy seas and later ran aground on a reef.

Bremner was charting a new course for his life after struggling with drugs and alcohol, according to his family. Relatives said he seemed to have found his calling once he moved from Orange County, California to Kona to work on a vessel owned by the Christian group Youth With a Mission.

"Aaron has been the most incredible human being. He just came to the islands two years ago so it has been a reconnection for our family," said his aunt Cindy MacDonald who lives on Maui.

Rescuers found the captain, Ann Ford, and the three other crew members in a life raft. Teams inspected the wreckage of the 75-foot vessel to see if Bremner was still trapped inside, but they did not find him.

"Actual fuel and debris that were inside the hull once we did breach the deck kind of limited our access to it and also the tide came up and made the boat very unstable," explained Acting Battalion Chief John Whitman of the Hawaii County Fire Department.

A fire department helicopter checked the coastline while dive teams looked through the underwater debris field near the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Coast Guard crews are also searching for Bremner. He was leaving on his second voyage to Micronesia.

"We go out for nine months at a time and do medical, dental, and other educational and developmental work amongst the isolated islands, the ones with no airports," said Brett Curtis, director of YWAM Ships Kona.

"He was so full of just peace. That's one of the reasons that the family is really at peace. He seemed to be very happy in his life's choices," said MacDonald.

The vessel is still carrying more than 500 gallons of diesel fuel. The Department of Land and Natural Resources is working with salvage and insurance companies on a plan to remove the wreckage while minimizing further damage to the reef.

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