Gondolier in tourist death tests positive for drugs

'Cocaine and hashish' says Venice police report

Gondolier in tourist death tests positive for drugs

Venice, August 23 - A gondolier was under the influence of drugs when his boat crashed and killed a tourist, Venice police said Friday. Test results showed traces of cocaine and hashish in blood tests performed on Stefano Pizzaggia, at the helm when his gondola collided with a water bus in the Grand Canal, killing 50-year-old Jaochim Vogel from Germany, on August 17. The force of the crash near the Rialto Bridge threw the mother, father, three children and the gondolier into the water, sending their three-year-old to the hospital. Last month the gondoliers' association announced possible drug and alcohol testing after a series of complaints. The move was said to come in response to a video posted to YouTube of a group of gondoliers allegedly hazing an aspiring assistant by forcing him to strip off his clothes and swim in a canal off St Mark's Square in order to get the job. Drugs or alcohol were suspected to have been involved. The gondolier in the fatal crash may face involuntary manslaughter charges.

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