The grieving family of an man who drowned in Hawke's bay is pleading for public help to raise money to return his body to India.

Hemin Limbachiya, 26, drowned at Waimarama Beach on Sunday, despite desperate efforts by rescuers to save him. His wife Tanvi survived the ordeal and was discharged from hospital on Wednesday.

Hemin's final words were a plea to rescuers to save his wife.
Now his family is desperately trying to raise the more than $20,000 required to fly his body home to India.

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Family friend Milind Gandhi has set up a Givealittle page to raise funds for the family, with more than $9000 already donated by Thursday morning.

"As you all must be aware in a very tragic incident Hemin passed away leaving his young wife as fighting for life when she was brought in to the Hawke's Bay Hospital. Tanvi is now recovering well, and now needs support from every Samaritan to survive and live through the ordeal of life left in front of her without her husband," the page says.

"She herself is recovering in the hospital. But some highlights of the many challenges that Tanvi has to conquer in these devastating times are: Hemin's body has to be moved to India for due cultural cremation which will cost close to $20,000 including transfer of Hemin's body to India along with a person accompanying Hemin and one person accompanying Tanvi the moment she recovers and is able to travel to bid Hemin a final farewell for his journey in the afterlife."

Gandhi said Tanvi was also expected to face visa complications to remain in New Zealand. The couple moved here in 2014 and married in Wellington in July 2016.

The pair were both working in Napier and had filed the paperwork for New Zealand residency, he said.

"They both had recently got their cultural Indian marriage on 4th Dec 2017 and came back to NZ on 4th Jan 2018. 10 days after her arrival she is now faced with one of the most devastating challenges ahead."

The couple had incurred a $40,000 debt planning their cultural marriage in India, Gandhi said.

"They had a very solid saving plan to save money together to pay off the amount but now with the tragedy and complicated visa status of Tanvi is a goal too far to reach for her alone.

"Her immigration back to NZ will be another major legal battle as she was on a dependent work visa based on Hemin's Work Visa. With Hemin having left us, leaves Tanvi midstream for her ability to come back to NZ if she wishes to in future," the page says.

"Her possibility of coming back depends on her ability to hire a good immigration lawyer to fight her case to carry on her mid-stream Permanent Residence Application which again will not be cheap."

Limbachiya worked at Solemate Safety Solutions in Napier, where he was a "valued work colleague and special friend", a death notice from the company said.

"Remembered for his snazzy dress sense and sincere, gentle nature. Our condolences to Tanvi and his family in India."

Gandhi said Hemin's dying wish was for his wife to be saved and she now needed public help.

"Like the last words of the drowning hero of a husband (Hemin) 'Save my wife she is alive'. Let's all live those words and help in the best possible way."