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Kaipara Harbour tragedy: Search for last victim called off

Thursday 1 Dec 2016 8:58 a.m.

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The family of the fisherman who's still missing off the Kaipara coast say they'll consider mounting their own land-based search for the body of their loved one.

Police are to call off the search Taulagi Afamasaga; the last man unaccounted for after the tragic capsizing of a charter fishing vessel in the Kaipara Harbour on Saturday.

The air and land search for Mr Afamasaga will end at midday on Thursday.

Inspector Mark Fergus says the decision was not made lightly, and an independent review will be held to ensure all search options have been exhausted.

Police consulted with specialists, including medical personnel, who said it was unlikely Mr Afamasaga could have survived this long.

They have also spoken to Mr Afamasaga's family about the search and the next steps, continuing to provide support.

The search will continue for the boat, the Francie, which capsized in rough seas on Saturday while attempting to cross the Kaipara Harbour bar.

The bodies of seven men have since been recovered. Three survived the accident.

Mr Fergus says the tidal conditions and currents of the Kaipara Harbour make the search for the Francie "notoriously difficult".

The public have set up a 'GiveaLittle' page, "to fundraise for the family of Taulagi Afamasaga to help with hard times ahead".

You can donate here https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/taulagiafamasaga 

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