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Quad bikes brought in for Kaipara search

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 28/11/2016

The Francie, a fishing charter vessel thought to have got into trouble on the Kaipara Harbour. © Facebook The Francie, a fishing charter vessel thought to have got into trouble on the Kaipara Harbour. Quad bikes will be used when the search continues for the last person missing from the fatal capsize of a charter fishing boat in Kaipara Harbour.

Three of the 11 men on board the Francie survived the incident on Saturday, when the 12-metre steel launch was crossing the harbour bar in treacherous conditions.

But seven died, including skipper Bill McNatty, while one other, 56-year-old Taulagi Afamasaga, remains missing, presumed drowned.

Police say they will resume their search for Mr Afamasaga on Tuesday, and their efforts will involve quad bikes combing the northern tip of South Head.

On Monday, police used four-wheel drive vehicles along the shoreline between Muriwai and South Head, while the police Eagle helicopters covered an area of several square kilometres from the air.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has two investigators in Auckland gathering evidence on what happened.

Chief investigator Captain Tim Burfoot says a lot of useful information has already been collected, but it's still early days.

He says the inquiry will go through a number of stages, including analysis of the evidence, the preparation of a draft report and publication of a final report.

"Any safety issues identified in the early phases of the inquiry can be addressed through urgent safety recommendations at any stage," he said.

The role of the commission is to determine the circumstances and causes of incidents with a view to avoiding similar occurrences.

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