Four Spanish tourists took an unexpected swim near Venice after a wave caused by a large motorboat capsized their gondola, Italy's ANSA news agency said.
The holidaymakers were quickly rescued by other gondoliers gliding nearby, but the incident yesterday has reignited debate over the difficulties gondolas face on the waters surrounding the picturesque Italian city.
The flat-bottomed tourist boats are a Venetian fixture, frequently hired by tourists looking to explore the city's canals but they are vulnerable to the sudden wash from passing motorboats.
"The problem remains the movement of the swell caused by motorboats," the head of a gondoliers association Aldo Reato said, adding that he has been complaining about the problem for two years.
"There are solutions," he insisted.
Reato explained that most incidents happen near the jetties where gondola passengers board, and that extending the boarding decks further out into the water could help protect the gondolas from any turbulence.