Joop Sparkes: Body of Scottish man who went missing from Prague party boat found after river search

Joop Sparkes went missing last weekend after jumping from a party boat

The sister of a Scottish man who went missing after jumping off a party boat in Prague, says his body has been found.

Tributes have been paid to Joop Sparkes, 29, from Galashiels, as “the life of the party”.

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Mr Sparkes and his friends visited the the Czech capital for a holiday weekend on 26 April.

The body of Joop Sparkes was found in a river in Prague, the capital of Czechia.The body of Joop Sparkes was found in a river in Prague, the capital of Czechia.
The body of Joop Sparkes was found in a river in Prague, the capital of Czechia.

A day later, they departed on a party boat from the President Hotel Prague, where Mr Sparkes was last seen jumping into the Vltava river “for a swim”, while his friends were at the bar.

A search for Mr Sparkes began and his sister, Jodie Wilson, travelled to Prague to join the hunt, alongside girlfriend Charley Maben.

His body was found at Štefánikův Bridge, around a mile downstream from where the incident occurred at the city’s Charles Bridge. Czech authorities said on Sunday night that forensic experts were working to determine the identity of the body.

Posting on Facebook, Ms Wilson said: "The family of Joop Sparkes would like to let you know that unfortunately it’s been confirmed as Joop’s body recovered from the water last night.

"We are all absolutely heartbroken and this wasn't the outcome we had hoped for, but like we promised we are bringing our boy home.

"We love you to the moon and back Joopster and you have left the biggest hole in our hearts ever."

Ms Maben, who had been in a relationship with Mr Sparkes for over six years, added: “We had our whole life planned ahead of us. I will cherish our memories forever. You’ve walked that extra mile Joop I love and miss you so much!! I will never ever forget you.”

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Tributes poured in for Mr Sparkes, who worked in the construction industry.

Demi Keyte, wrote: “Forever seeking that next rush of adrenaline and taking every opportunity of adventure. Your life was certainly never dull.

“I’ll hold your memory forever Joopster.”

Emma Gray added: “Rest easy, Joop Sparkes, you were the life of the party.”

Mr Sparkes’ cousin, Dez Wilson, said: “Devastated beyond words. 29 years old and what a man you became - one we are all very proud of.”

The family launched a Gofundme page to help with costs involved in searching for Mr Sparkes, raising over £11,000.

Three days ago, Ms Maben said the money would be used to hire a private investigator to help find Mr Sparkes.

Ms Wilson had said the family was “emotionally and physically drained” after walking around 13 miles a day along the river banks to find Mr Sparkes.

The Gofundme page described Mr Sparkes as a “cherished son, brother, boyfriend, and uncle”, who enjoys outdoor adventures, staying fit, and spending time with loved ones.

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It added: “He is a funny, caring and adventurous young man who spends much of his time in nature from climbing mountains, to camping in the wilderness.”

A spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: "We are supporting the family of a British man who has died in Czech Republic and are in contact with the local authorities."

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