30 Nov 2016

21 people were due on capsized Francie, says fisherman

7:16 pm on 30 November 2016

A man who was fishing in the Kaipara Harbour the same day the Francie sank, killing seven, says even more lives could have been lost.

There were 11 people on the charter fishing boat when it capsized on Saturday afternoon.

Seven bodies have been recovered, and one man is still missing and presumed dead. A police helicopter has been searching the shoreline around the harbour today.

Taia Williams was on a different charter that afternoon, but knew some of those on the Francie.

He said 21 people, including his two brothers, were due to go on that boat - but ended up backing out.

"My brother, he decided about two weeks ago, he knew something was not right. These other six people, they say they can't make it."

Two more were late to the wharf that morning, due to go out on the Francie, but ended up on his boat, Mr Williams said.

He had heard stories of the Francie's skipper being irresponsible, and unsafe with passengers, he said.

"My friends and my brother [were] telling me funny stories about him, like he takes risks, he doesn't care, and all that. That's all I can say.

"To me, when I hear these stories ... Francie [was] a disaster waiting to happen."