Prayer service held in Auckland for missing Tongatapu man

The family of Viliami Vaka’uta, who went missing at Laulea beach at Fātumu on Christmas day, have held a prayer service for him in Auckland.

It is understood a family member was travelling from Auckland to Tonga to join the family there at “this very difficult time.”

Kaniva News reports the search for the 24-year-old had been called off after he was presumed drowned following an attempt to rescue his wife at one of Tonga’s most dangerous places to go swimming.

Police divers’ search had been stopped on December 27 but the family continued searching until this week, Police reportedly said.

The wife of the deceased and another man, who helped in the attempts to save her life, were rescued.

Laulea beach is a dangerous swimming spot. It is famed for its powerful currents and treacherous rips.

In 2017 Soane Tangipa ʻAtaʻata died while he was swimming at the beach.

In 2015 ‘Inoke Mapaleve Mo’unga, 32, of Kolonga drowned at the beach while visiting there with his wife and friends.

In 2012 Catholic priest, Father Mikaele Mateo, 37, died at Laulea Beach while helping to rescue his five young nephews who were swept out to open sea by strong currents