VOLUME 4 The Prague Stepchild  March 12, 2003        
 



Prague, CZ - Tragedy struck when a tourist barge carrying a large group of Austrian tourists struck the Charles Bridge and sank. 75 of the 76 Austrians on board drowned. The other tourists and staff survived by swimming to the riverbank which was two meters away from the overturned boat. "This is the worst peacetime marine accident since the Titanic," said President Vaclav Klaus

"I learned to swim while I was a foreign exchange student in Australia," said Wolfgang Blitzer, the only surviving Austrian. "But my poor countryman could not swim a single stroke. We are all excellent skiers, though, you know Herman Meir? He's Austrian."

The Czech people were quick to express their sympathy. "This is really a drag," said Jiri Svarc, head of the police force in charge of recovering the bodies. "I mean, we have to fish out 75 Austrians, that's really a lot. This is going to take weeks."

Jorg Haider, the controversial head of the far-right Freedom party denounced the Czechs and called for Austrians to stay home where it was safe. "Those Czechs they are halfmenschen, like I always said. We must stay in the Fatherland where we can take care of our own." The incident will have negative repercussions for the relations between the Czechs and the Austrians, already strained by the Czech nuclear reactor at Temelin, which has been bitterly protested by the Austrians.

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