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Venice police: gondolier's drug test positive

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August 23, 2013 02:22 PM EST | AP


ROME — The gondolier whose boat collided with a bigger one on Venice's Grand Canal, killing a German tourist, has tested positive for cocaine and hashish consumption, police said Friday.

Blood and urine analysis performed at a hospital after the Aug. 17 crash tested positive for the substances, police spokeswoman Erika Veronica Di Francesco said. She said more analysis is needed to determine the amount of drugs in the gondolier's system and whether they affected his ability to safely guide the gondola.

The gondolier is one of four people under investigation in connection with the death of the German, who, along with his family, was riding the gondola in the last hours of their Venetian holiday.

The gondola collided with a vaporetto, or public water bus. The man's 3-year-old daughter was injured. The captain of the water bus and two other vessels nearby are also under investigation.

Immediately after the crash, near the popular Rialto bridge, Venice's mayor asked experts to study what can be done about the worsening boat congestion in the city's waterways, which serve as streets in the lagoon city.