Yachtie killed in boating accident in Thailand

MARYANNE TWENTYMAN
Last updated 05:00 31/01/2013

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The body of a former Hamilton man is due to return from Thailand next week after a boating accident in Phuket.

Richard Ernest Spraggs, 58, was killed after he slipped and hit his head on a boat he was attempting to keep away from his own boat during a storm on January 25.

His parents, Hamilton couple Dick and Lorna Spraggs, were told of the accident last Friday night by police.

The news was a devastating blow for the Spraggs who lost a daughter to breast cancer in 2006.

"It is cruel that we have now lost two children, we have two left, it's very sad for all of us," Mrs Spraggs said.

Their son Richard was born in Hamilton and completed primary school in Huntly before moving to Hamilton Boys' High School.

It was in Huntly that his passion for sailing was launched, navigating P-Class yachts around Lake Hakanoa.

Upon leaving school the keen sportsman took on an electrical engineering apprenticeship, which was his ticket to lucrative contracts abroad working on oil rigs in the Middle East.

Richard returned to Hamilton where he established a spouting company, which he soon moved to Mt Maunganui - closer to the sea and his love of yachting.

"Richard loved the water," Mrs Spraggs said.

"He got that from me, we love the water, swimming and anything to do with the sea."

Her son's lifelong ambition was realised just six months ago when he purchased a yacht called La Zingara in Thailand.

"I guess if there is anything positive to come out of this tragedy it is that Richard died doing something he absolutely loved," Mrs Spraggs said.

Her son is survived by an Auckland-based daughter, Stevie, and his partner Shirley who will return with Spraggs' body early next week.

A date has yet to be set for a funeral which is expected to take place in Mt Maunganui.

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- Waikato Times

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