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Five under investigation in deadly gondola crash

Venice police suspect additional gondolier involved

27 August, 14:54
Five under investigation in deadly gondola crash (ANSA) - Venice, August 27 - Police said Tuesday they now have five suspects in a canal crash between a water bus and a gondola in Venice earlier this month that killed one German tourist.

Police say another gondola passing close to the pier at the busy Rialto market stop may have triggered the accident on the Grand Canal by forcing the water bus into the path of the other gondola.

German Joachim Vogel, 50, who was riding with his family in the gondola, died of extensive head wounds from the accident.

The force of the impact threw the entire family into the canal.

Police say the gondolier at the helm tested positive for drugs, but their investigation still includes three water-bus pilots.

They are also trying to identify a water taxi driver in the area at the time.

The incident reflects the different needs of motor and row boats on Venice's waterways, said Veneto Governor Luca Zaia.

Before motor-powered craft, traffic seemed to get along well on the canals - at least, as depicted in paintings from earlier times, he said.

"I have in mind the paintings of Canaletto with a Grand Canal full of traffic but with each boat on equal terms," he said.

"For my part, I have the utmost sympathy for the gondoliers".