'Why is he the only one not there?'

8:25 pm on 2 December 2016

The family of the only man still missing after the Francie fishing boat capsized and sank, is clinging to hope his body will be recovered.

The Francie went down with 11 people on board last Saturday, after crossing the Kaipara Harbour Bar in rough conditions.

Seven people are confirmed to have died. Three survived. One man, Taulagi Afamasaga, has not been found. Police said his body may still be with the boat.

His daughter, Amy Yerro, said it was difficult because her family was unable to bury her father.

Taulagi "Lagi" Afamasaga - pictured with his daughter Amy

Taulagi "Lagi" Afamasaga - pictured with his daughter Amy Photo: Supplied / NZ Police

She felt "kind of jealous" of the families who had their men's bodies back.

"They've got their men and I'm asking myself ... Why don't we have my dad home to bury?

"What did he do any different from anyone else? Why is he the only one who is not there?

"It is very, very difficult."

Her mother did not want to come to terms with him not being home.

"If we do a memorial that's basically the final goodbye and she won't accept that at this stage."

Taulagi Afamasaga

Taulagi Afamasaga. Photo: Givealittle

The family would hold a prayer ceremony tonight.

Ms Yerro said the family hoped her father's body would be found with the vessel, but they were trying to stay realistic.

"Unless they find the vessel we do hold onto hope he may be with the boat."

As her father was the main earner, the family had set up a givealittle page.

Search for missing vessel

Police, Coastguard and Navy search teams were today out in the water where the boat was thought to have capsized.

Inspector Mark Fergus said police met with Mr Afamasaga's family to discuss the search, as it was possible his body was still on board the boat.

Kaipara Harbour drone footage

Kaipara Harbour. Photo: RNZ

The police search for Mr Afamasaga was called off yesterday. He was presumed dead.

Mr Fergus said if the Francie was found, Mr Afamasaga's family would be informed first.

He said police would assess options to search the wreckage, and that could involve police divers or video.

"This will however require a risk assessment, the area is notoriously dangerous and will be dependent on the sea conditions, tides and currents."

Two of the Tongan men who died after the Francie capsized were farewelled today.

A joint funeral was planned for Alipate Manumu'a and Sunia Ungo'unga at their Methodist church in Otara today. They would be buried tomorrow.

The body of Tevita Tangi will be taken back to Tonga next week, while Fonua Taufa's funeral will be in Northcote.

A candelit vigil for some of the men is being held on Sunday, as the churches were not available and some of the men were being buried before then.

Six people were rescued but others were feared dead after what is thought to be The Francie fishing vessel got into trouble in the Kaipara Harbour, northwest of Auckland.

The Francie capsized on Sunday in rough conditions on the Kaipara bar. Photo: Facebook

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