5 Dec 2016

Kaipara tragedy: Body of last victim found on beach

8:54 pm on 5 December 2016

A body found this morning on Muriwai Beach is believed to belong to Taulagi Afamasaga, who has been missing since the charter fishing boat Francie sank last weekend.

Taulagi Afamasaga

Taulagi Afamasaga Photo: Givealittle

Seven bodies have already been recovered since the boat capsized in the Kaipara Harbour on Saturday 26 November.

The search for Mr Afamasaga's body was called off on Thursday.

A fisherman discovered the body on the beach about 6am today.

Police said while formal identification was yet to take place, it was thought to be that of Mr Afamasaga, and his family had been informed.

There were 11 people on board the Francie when it capsized during an attempted bar crossing in rough weather, and just three survivors. Its skipper, Bill McNatty, was among those who died.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has been interviewing survivors and witnesses as part of its investigation into the disaster.

It said last week that any safety issues identified in the early phases of its inquiry would be addressed through urgent safety recommendations.

Mr Afamasaga's family held a vigil for him at the Parakai Wharf last week, and a prayer ceremony on Friday, saying it was very difficult not having him home to farewell.

He was the main earner for the family, and they have set up a fundraising page to pay for a memorial and help cover other costs.

The men on the boat were [http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/319123/kaipara-tragedy-victims-named said to have paid about $80 each to go fishing to feed their families.

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