Family of missing Scot who jumped from party boat in Prague fly out to aid three-day search

Joop Sparkes
Joop Sparkes -Credit:UGC

The family of a missing Scot who vanished after jumping from a party boat in Prague have flown out to the Czech capital.

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. His belongings have remained untouched in his hotel room for three days.

An urgent search has been launched by Czech Republic police.

His devastated sister Jodie Wilson and girlfriend Charley Maben have now flown out to Prague to join the search efforts.

Searches for Joop remain ongoing
Searches for Joop remain ongoing -Credit:UGC

His cousin Derek Wilson penned a desperate appeal to tourists and locals to help the family locate Joop.

He said: "We cannot bear the thought of leaving Prague without Joop.

"He has been missing for over 60 hours and we've had no contact.

"His belongings have remained untouched in his accommodation.

"We are searching tirelessly for him. We plan to stay in Prague as long as we can to investigate and work with local authorities to find out what happened to him.

"If you have any information about his whereabouts please get in touch."

In a moving tribute, he added: "Joop is a cherished son, brother, boyfriend, and uncle.

"He is a funny, caring and adventurous young man who spends much of his time in nature and with his girlfriend Charley.

"He loves outdoor adventures, staying fit, and spending time with loved ones."

Police in the Czech Republic confirmed they are continuing to carry out enquiries.

Joop is understood to have been wearing a black T-shirt when he went overboard. There have been no confirmed sightings of him despite initial reports from a fellow boat passenger.

Joop's family have flown out to Prague to search for him
Joop reportedly went missing near the Charles Bridge which runs over the Vltava river

His family has launched a fundraiser to help cover their costs while they stay in Prague. On Wednesday, a GoFundMe page had already received £6,000 from well-wishers.

A spokesperson for the Czech Republic police said: "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."

The Foreign Office said it is supporting the Sparkes family.

An Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of a British man reported as missing in Prague and are in contact with the local authorities.”

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