Divers search for Scot missing in Prague as 'helpless' family beg for more support

The family of a Scot who disappeared from a party boat in Prague have said they feel "helpless" and claimed there's been a lack of support from local cops as divers scour the scene.

Joop Sparkes, from Galashiels, was on an organised boat trip with pals when he dived into the Vltava River between 1am and 2am on Sunday, April 27.

The 29-year-old construction worker has not been seen since. Devastated sister Jodie Wilson and girlfriend Charley Maben have now flown out to look for him as an urgent search is underway by Czech Republic police.

Speaking for the family, cousin Dez Wilson said: “We haven’t had any updates so far. The biggest issue our family have faced so far is the lack of support they are getting for the search in Prague.

“We are just waiting for any updates at all.

“There was a delay in the police responding to his disappearance but we believe he wasn’t reported missing by his friends straightaway so that could be why.

“When The language has been a really big barrier, they went to the boat that Joop was on and they wouldn’t let her on board or even speak to the family it has been devastating.

“The Scottish police told us that this is down to the police in Prague and it has nothing to do with them. “Nobody has been willing to help. The lack of support has been appalling for our family. We really need support and a translator over there.

“Now they have finally sent divers out and they have been at the bottom of the river for some time so hopefully they find something.

“Jodie and Charlie Joop’s girlfriend have been walking the river daily they just feel helpless.

“They are over there retracing all of his steps which is really emotional for them.”

A spokesperson for the Police of the Czech Republic was reported as saying: “I can confirm that since early Sunday morning the Prague police have been searching for a 29-year-old foreigner who, according to the announcement, jumped from a party boat near the Charles Bridge in Prague 1 and has not been seen since.

“In the place where the missing person was last seen, several search operations took place, in which policemen from the river department were also involved, but the foreigner has not been found anywhere yet.”

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson also said: “We are supporting the family of a British man who has gone missing in Czech Republic and are in contact with the local authorities.”

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