We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A sad day in Venice

In my last post, I commented on the run of interesting, strange, odd, wacky, weird, almost unthinkable things that have taken place in Venice thus far this summer. Things were definitely going downhill, but today, things just fell off the cliff. Bad went to worse in a hurry this morning with the  news of a tragic accident on the Grand Canal just before noon.

Amidst all the usual traffic at the Rialto bridge, a vaporetto knocked into a gondola, sending a German family of five- mother, father and 3 children-  into the canal. The father unfortunately died at the hospital shortly afterward, having taken in large quantities of water. The small daughter suffered from a serious wound above her eye and was taken to the hospital in Padua for surgery. A tragic day for this vacationing family.

   (photo courtesy La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre)

I'm almost without words.

But believe me, there will be words today, tomorrow, in the near future as blame is bandied about by the police department conducting the investigation, the city government, you name it, everyone will have something to say. We'll talk about all that in the days to come.

Today, a life was lost, a young child seriously injured, a family forever changed, and I suspect one gondolier and one vaporetto captain will suffer nightmares for the rest of their lives. Words won't change those facts.

As small consolation, I strongly believe when your time has come, it's come. While I wish there were a way this day could be rewound and played over, with a different outcome, that isn't possible. We have to deal with the reality as it is.  As thoughts of this tragic event went round and round in my head all afternoon,  I was reminded of a similar event. A few years ago on vacation in the Dominican Republic, while attending the evening entertainment at the resort, we were all up on the dance floor doing the merengue, having a fantastic time.  Not far from me a woman slumped to the floor. The emergency doctor was called, everyone was in a panic. The woman passed away instantly due to a massive heart attack. Just like that, she was gone. Dancing one minute, dead the next. Her family made a statement shortly after the frightening incident- that their mother was having the time of her life, doing exactly what she would have wanted to do- dance.

I want to not forget that life is for living. Let's remind ourselves to get up and dance every day.

I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the family.


jodi said...

I am sorry to hear this.

Peg said...

Karen - so very sad for this family but your words are so true. Live each day as though it is your last because it so quickly can change.

Rob C said...

What a tragic event, this is the first fatality in many years though?

Kaye said...

So sad, do you think the traffic on the Grand Canal has increased so that such an accident can happen or was it poor driving on the part of the gondelier or Vaparetto captain?

karen said...

Kaye- the traffic has definitely increased on the Grand Canal to handle the huge masses of tourists.No one will know exactly what happened yesterday until the investigation is completed. No matter - a tragedy occurred. Something has got to change soon.

jodi said...

A couple of weeks now, when we were there, the traffic was bad. Vaparetto's had to pause in the canal waiting for other buses, gondola's trying to get back to base would cut in front of boats -not being reckless but more out of necessity. 4 ocean liners in port one day. But once you get away from St. Marks the crowds go down measurably. Spent one morning at Lido at the beach and will definitely go back. No crowds and a beautiful beach.

karen said...

Ciao, Jodi. 4 cruise ships was a slow day, I've seen as many as 10 in one day here. The crowds this year have been far worse than we can remember. I love being away from all those people! Lido is lovely, isn't it?

margieinitaly said...

I had read about this terrible tragedy, Karen, and feel so sad. You wrote a beautiful post about it to share with your readers.

My condolences to the families also.

Kaye said...

Hi Karen, my husband and I have visited Venice many times over the last 20 years and it gets more crowded every year. This past spring I noticed as well the traffic on the Grand Canal was quite heavy at certain times of the day. I agree with you and I hope this terrible tragedy creates momentum to address not just the traffic problem but also the cruise ship problem which is destroying the lagoon.

Anonymous said...

What a terrible thing to happen.
My heart too goes out to the poor family.

Karen, as ever you say it like it is with your own
immutable wisdom and charm, Of course we must
Dance every day,
Tango preferably

Much love,

Dianne said...

What a tragedy. My heart goes out to this family. I wonder if Venice (or the Italian government or whomever is responsible) will one day put a limit on the numbers of tourists in Venice on any given day. I believe that in the Galapagos, the number of ships are limited (and on the bigger ones, the tourists have to choose which excursions to go on since they are not allowed to do all of them to protect the islands). I may be wrong here. Anyway, it seems to me that the number of cruise ships must be limited to protect Venice and the lagoon. However, I see the merchants mounting a huge protest over any such action.

Anonymous said...

Karen, we understand that the Gondolier has been found to have failed a drugs test. It gets worse, doesn't it? Have you heard how the daughter is?

Be back in Venezia late November for 6 months.

Richard and Coral

karen said...

Ciao, Richard and Coral,

I read that the daughter returned to Germany with her family, that the injuries were not as bad as originally reported. But still...

There have been news reports every day, all day since the day of the accident. Not sure what to believe. I'm frankly a little leery of this particular report about the drug testing positive. It appeared to me that the test wasn't done immediately, so not sure how relevant it would be if it was done days later. Also, it's pretty clear the gondolier was not moving at the time of the accident. I wish they would report nothing until the investigation is complete, but there are accusations and blame being thrown all over the place. It was a very unfortunate accident, that's for sure. Tragic accidents happen all over the world, every day- trying to keep it all in perspective.

Get in touch when you arrive in November, we should meet for coffee or spritz! 6 months, aren't you the lucky one!!!


RAW said...

Hi Karen,

Will contact you before Xmas to catch up. We walked down to the "far end" earlier in the year. Your apartment is in a lovely spot.

Richard and Coral

Richar e Coral said...

Hi Karen,

will contact you before Xmas for a spritz!! Do we do this thru the blog?


Richard e Coral

style.outfitter said...

hello karen just read your whole blog! its so interesting, me and my parent wil be visiting venice and wondering would it be possible to do venice for a day :)

style.outfitter said...

hello karen just read your whole blog! its so interesting, me and my parent wil be visiting venice and wondering would it be possible to do venice for a day :)