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YWAM vessel capsizes off Kona coast, crewmember missing

Youth With A Mission's 75 foot sailing vessel 'Hawaii Aloha' aground in Kona Saturday, January 3, 2015. Photo courtesy of YWAM Ships

Youth With A Mission’s 75 foot sailing vessel ‘Hawaii Aloha’ aground in Kona Saturday, January 3, 2015. Photo courtesy of YWAM Ships


At approximately 5:45 a.m. on Saturday, January 3, 2015 the Hawai‘i Aloha, a 75-foot sailboat operated by YWAM Ships Kona, capsized four miles offshore from the Kona coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. The vessel’s second mate remains missing and the captain is currently hospitalized in Waimea with non-life threatening injuries. All crew families have been notified.

After receiving a National Weather Service alert the previous night, the 5 person crew headed 6 miles out to sea to outlast the dangerous conditions. The ship was cutting into rough waves approximately four miles from shore when a series of large waves hit the vessel broadside, flipping it twice. The crew shot off flares and 4 of the 5 crew abandoned ship into an emergency life raft. After seeing the flares two jet ski operators rescued the crew in the life raft.

The vessel was loaded with supplies to depart for the Christmas Island this upcoming Tuesday. YWAM SHIPS exists to reach the most isolated and disadvantaged islands through medical, dental, clean water systems and educational initiatives. This is the first marine tragedy in YWAM’s decades of service.

Our first concern is for the safety and well being of the crew involved in this incident. Out of respect and privacy for these individuals, we ask for your patience and understanding at this time.

YWAM Ship’s Fleet Support is working in cooperation and collaboration with Hawaii Island’s Department of Land and Natural Resources and Hawai’i’s Coast Guard. A full search of the vessel is underway and the search for the missing crew member is ongoing.

Contact YWAM Ships for further information: 206-550-2594

UPDATED (9:25 p.m. on 1/3/2015)

By Hawaii 24/7 Staff

Hawaii County Fire Department crews were unable to complete a search of the vessel, grounded on the reef near the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, due to the large amount of debris and rising tide which made the boat unstable. Crews will resume searching the vessel for the missing man at daybreak.


January 3, 2015

We remain devastated at today’s harrowing events and our primary concern is missing Hawai’i Aloha crew member Aaron Bremner.

Staff, friends and family are waiting to embrace his mother as she arrives to the Island tonight and will join her as the search continues tomorrow.

All of our thoughts, prayers and concerns are with Aaron right now as we hold onto hope that he may still be alive. Please join us in prayer for Aaron and his family as they need our support at this time.

The four other crew members on board with Aaron are safe and have returned to the Port YWAM base. Hawai’i Aloha Captain Ann Ford was released from hospital this afternoon and along with crew members Alyssa Radke, Mariah Turner, and Zachary Smith are shaken but well and resting. We have counselors standing by for the needs of family and crew.

We would like to thank and commend all the people involved with the rescue including the local fire department, US Coast Guard, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the staff of Four Seasons Resort and others who were on hand at the time. The authorities are doing an excellent job and we will continue to work with them to provide accurate information as required.

Our immediate focus is on the crew.

We expect the salvage of the boat to begin as soon as practically possible, once the authorities allow it.

We will be posting more information as it becomes available at

6 Responses to “YWAM vessel capsizes off Kona coast, crewmember missing”

  1. Chris Mason says:

    Aaron is my nephew…… his faith in the Lord is strong and inspiring. He had a rough few years as a young man trying to find his way in this world, but eventually found his way to the Lord – and has followed him with a joyful vengeance for the last 3 years. We have kept in touch thru texts while he’s been with WYAM, and his messages to me of God’s promises and love have helped me thru some personal struggles. God used Aaron as a vessel to help me, when I felt lost in desperation. Only Aaron and God know what happened between us thru those text messages – all I can tell you is Aaron was my guardian Angel that night…. a Messenger sent from God to help his Aunt thru a desperate time. He simply said….. God heard me, and put it on Aaron’s heart to tell me some things. He then imparted information with a knowledge Aaron alone could not possess. He wrote with authority, clarity, conviction, and vision…. a volume of texts that blew my cell phone up with the constant bell-tones of of “you’ve got mail”….. words of wisdom, joy and inspiration that I know were from God himself – no 22 year old on the planet was ever so wise. I went from tears of despair alone in a parking lot, to an undescribable joy and lightness of being I have never felt before. All thanks to my beautiful nephew, Aaron – who gave in to the will of God completely and purely, and allowed himself to be used. Believe me, I know how odd this sounds, but I have to tell the truth. Especially now, at this time…. the Master of the sea will deliver Aaron to his mother, or to his Father – either way, it’s God’s perfect will. Because I knew Aaron Bremner, I am changed forever.

  2. Will be in prayer for the families involved, and for a miracle of rescue to young man. God is in control in the storms of our lifes. Thank You Jesus for knowing all in this situation. Hear our prayers.

  3. Karen says:

    Dear Chris, I have tears in my eyes as I read your comments here about Aaron. My son met Aaron a few years ago when he staffed a DTS at the YWAM base in Australia where Aaron went for his DTS. I’ve heard many stories and have seen the growth in our own son over the years, and thank God Aaron’s walk with God didn’t end with his experience on base, but affected the lives of others that he loved. The peace, joy and thankfulness you found that day is still very evident in your life. :-) We’ll keep praying for Aaron’s family, as you say, whether it’s time for him to return to his mother or his Heavenly Father. Bless you, Karen

  4. Jim says:

    Who’s fault was this? One experienced sailor and 4 children. Doesn’t anyone care about this inexcusable tragedy. This is CRIMINAL!!! Cunningham is full of crap, as usual, and this ia another YWAM cover up.

  5. Donna Thompson says:

    My son is presently serving with YWAM in Nepal. While doing his DTS, he stayed at YWAM ships and met Aaron. My deepest sympathies to Aaron’s family and YWAM staff and students. My our Lord wrap His living arms around you.


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