10:17 PM Saturday Nov 12, 2016
A Kiwi man who jumped off Venice’s famed Rialto Bridge and smashed into a passing water taxi has reportedly died from his injuries.
The 49-year-old, who lived most of the year in St Tropez on the Cote d’Azur, was reportedly drunk in August when he decided to hurl himself off the stone bridge, which spans the Grand Canal.
But instead of dropping into the water, he landed on a water taxi that was passing beneath the bridge at the time.
Italian newspaper Il Messaggero yesterday reported the man had died from his injuries at hospital in Mestre, Venice.
The force of the impact smashed the boat’s windshield and scattered broken glass across the prow.
A colleague dove into the canal after the man who got up and was screaming in pain, Il Messaggero reported.
The man, believed to be working on a yacht that was visiting Venice, was taken to hospital with fractures and severe trauma.
He had been in a coma since being admitted to hospital in a critical condition.
At the time, authorities said they would conduct tests to determine whether the man was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
He would have faced charges of endangering public transport if he had survived.
After the incident, Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted that he’d had enough of this and other types of bad behaviour.
“I insist on (introducing) special powers to the city to uphold public order. Pickpockets, vandals, drunks! A night in the cells.”
Venice, which has a strict ban on swimming in its canals, has fought a running battle with uncouth and unsociable behaviour on the part of the 20 million tourists who descend each year.
In the past the city has issued decrees against men wandering around bare-chested, families eating packed lunches in St Mark’s Square and the feeding of pigeons.