The family of a sailor who died in a motor scooter crash in Rarotonga on Friday say they are relieved his body is now back in New Zealand and will soon be "in our arms".
William Paratini Delamere was killed in a motor scooter crash, close by to where his ship HMNZS Otago was docked.
The 22-year-old's body was flown home this afternoon on a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 plane which was met at Whenuapai Air Force Base by Navy personnel, family and friends.
He was a "cheeky, intelligent young man who lived for his life in the Navy and his family," his family said in a statement.
“Once he is back in our arms, we will take him back to Whitianga Marae where he will lie in state on the family marae," they said. He would be farewelled by family and friends at a private tangi.
“His partner, who is also in the Navy, had a very strong relationship with William and is devastated by her loss," the family said.
“We are all extremely proud of what William has achieved during his four years in the Navy, and our focus now is to make sure that he gets the farewell that he deserves."
The able seaman combat specialist was travelling with the Navy conducting maritime patrols in the Pacific.
Navy personnel accompanied his body back to New Zealand today after his fellow crew members farewelled him in Rarotonga.
"The real tragedy of this sad event is that William was a fantastic young man with a very bright future," the commanding officer of HMNZS Otago commander David McEwan said.
“He embodied the very spirit of a young sailor enjoying life at sea performing a role that offered him friendship, exciting times and rewarding moments. He was a wonderful part of the youth and vibrancy which makes HMNZS Otago such a special ship to serve on and he will be deeply missed.”
Local police are investigating the cause of the crash.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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