Coast Guard searches for missing boater off Big Island
KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - [Update]
Rescue crews scoured a ship which washed ashore in Kona in hopes of finding a missing boater. Hawaii County Fire Department officials reported they did not find the missing boater on board the vessel.
New details are emerging about the missing boater and the events leading up to his disappearance. Hawaii News Now has learned the name of this missing boater is Aaron Bremner.
Brett Curtis, the Director of the nonprofit Christian missionary organization YWAM Ships Kona, said Bremner was a skilled sailor who was well-liked among his crew.
"Aaron is one of our ordinary seaman, he's trained, he's been at sea with us all last year, he was deploying again for a second year at sea with us. He's a 22-year-old, very fit, very likable, amiable guy from Orange County, California," Curtis said.
Curtis went into detail about the events that took place before Aaron went missing.
"Four made it into the life raft after they were hit with a set of very large waves unexpectedly at 5:45 in the morning several miles offshore; it capsized the boat," Curtis said. "They could not open Aaron's stateroom door. It was pinned. Something was holding it and they couldn't get in. At the moment they had to abandon ship. Four out of five made it into the raft, but Aaron did not."
The outpouring of support in search for Aaron has been extraordinary, according to Curtis.
"We've been out there since day break," she said. "It's been a tremendous search and rescue effort going on. Our Youth With a Mission staff and volunteers are combing the beach, they are joining in the efforts as well. Coast Guard has been searching all night, and helicopters are combing the coast, boats are out there doing the same thing. Its a huge rescue effort."
Curtis, a seasoned mariner in his own right, is grief-stricken by the loss and prays for the safe return of his shipmate and friend.
"Aaron was one of our crew, and we're just devastated by this. Personally for myself, I've been doing this for 31 years. This is the first time I've ever had a tragedy like this, and we are just hoping beyond hope that he's ok and we'll find him today."
Coast Guard officials are continuing their search for a missing passenger from a grounded sailboat off the Kona Coast on Sunday.
The 60-foot ship ran aground near the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai around 6:36 a.m. Saturday. Officials say the "Hawaii Aloha" had five passengers on board: three women and two men. The sailboat was about 4 miles offshore when it got caught in rough water and capsized.
The three females were taken to a hospital in Kona, and the man was taken to a hospital in Waimea with non-life threatening injuries. Rescue efforts from the Hawaii Fire Department were suspended Saturday evening due to rough waters.
DLNR officials say the sailboat was carrying about 550 gallons of diesel.
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