Friday, October 17, 2008

The Last Hours of Jörg Haider

According to the latest reports from Austria, Jörg Haider got quite drunk at a gay bar in Klagenfurt in the hours just before his fatal car accident.

Österreich has photos and an article, as translated by Henrik from Europe News:

A Bottle of Vodka, and Then He Started the Phaeton

Klagenfurt, October 17 2008

After all, things were a bit different. Before his death drive, Haider visited a local bar, and in company of an unknown person drank vodka.

The riddle of the last hours of Jörg Haider’s life has largely been solved. This also answers the question of where the leader of the Kärntern province got so drunk that he lost control of his VW Phaeton with 1.8 promille of alcohol in his blood.

Haider was in the Klagenfurter bar “Zum Stadkrämer” and it appears that he, in company of a young man, got drunk quite fast. Haider entered the room in company of the man, and was sitting with him at the table, as shown by the photos that ÖSTERREICH is now able to publish:

[Picture here]

When Haider left the room shortly after 1 AM, the 58-year BZÖ leader appeared to be visibly drunk, not able to walk straight. So worrisome that another guest had offered him a ride home, which Haider turned down.

Haider’s last drive:

[Map here. The text items from the map points are given below.]

1) 4:30 PM Haider leaves “Hotel Moser Verdino” and goes to his apartment.
2) 7:30 PM Haider arrives at the opening of Bem Vindo” in Klagenfurt.
3) 9:45 PM In “Le Cabaret” in Velden is the last of his public programme for the evening.
4) 10:30 PM Haider leaves the garage of Casino Velden for an unknown destination.
  
? Where was Jörg Haider in the time interval between 10:30 PM and 11:15 PM ?
 
5) 11:15 PM Haider appears with company at “Zum Stadkrämer” and stays until shortly after 1:00 AM.
6) 1:18 PM With an alcohol contents of 1.8 parts per thousand Haider drives to his death at a speed approaching 170 km/h.

The would-be helper has reported details to the leading state official Gottfried Kranz, who confirmed this on Thursday.

Volkswagen, which manufactured the Phaeton in which Mr. Haider died, has not ruled out sabotage. The company is anxious to demonstrate that the car should have negotiated the curve successfully, even at such a high speed.

According to The Daily Mail:
- - - - - - - - -
As throngs of right-wing crowds gathered for his funeral today, makers of the VW Phaeton limo he was driving insist their car is one of the safest in the world and should have survived the crash.

VW spokesman Peter Thul claimed that someone with access to Haider’s car key could have manipulated the car’s electrics.

The car giants have sent their own experts to examine the wreckage and search for signs it may have been sabotaged.

[…]

Thul told The Sun: “It is a fact that Haider was going too fast, but such a speed on that curve is not a problem for the car’s physics.

“The Phaeton and Audi A8 are the safest of all. You’d need the key to manipulate the electronics, so someone at a garage would have to tamper with it.”

This story gets curiouser and curiouser. What will emerge next?


Hat tip for the Daily Mail article: JD.

16 comments:

Aeneas said...

This "accident" seems very convenient for the EU elite. There are echoes of the death of the Princess of Wales.

El said...

the claim that the car should have taken the corner without problems is mis-stated. it would be more accurate to say that the car should have been *able* to take the corner without problems had it not been driven by a very drunk man.

if you drive at 100mph when you're bladdered, you're going to have an accident. i don't like the conspiracy theories floating around. here's another one: jorg haider was murdered by strache so he (strache) could reunite the right in austria under his own control. there's as much evidence for that as anything else that people are talking about.

spackle said...

Haider was gay?? I had no idea. Or is that just an implication?

Sam Grant said...

There are echoes of the death of Princess Diana, alright. If you go driving at high speeds on roads not meant for such speeds, an accident is probable. If it happens, it'll probably be fatal.

If you're drunk, not having an accident is improbable.

If you're majorly drunk, not having an accident is a miracle.

Haider as good as committed suicide. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.

Afonso Henriques said...

Volkswagen is a great car. And I have three!

Unfortunetley those are much smaller and older and all of them together do not vallue a tenth of Haider's car :(

Now seriously, the Volkswagen guys are turning the things interesting. I never made a voyage in a Phaeton but I have to say that I was astonished to be driven once in an Audi A8. You see, acostumed to my Volkswagens, the A8 climbs easily to the 180 km/h as the average car in Europe goes at 80 km/h. I do not doubt the quality of the car. However I don't know much about the road...

The Anti-Jihadist said...

I think GoV should be above insinuating unproven conspiracy theories. Get loaded and drive fast, and no matter what car you're driving, you're more likely than not to wind up seriously injured or dead.

As for Princess Di, had she worn her seltbelt, she very likely would have survived that night.

Anonymous said...

This whole story is just weird, in my opinion. And I think we should take what the VW spokesman says with a grain of salt: of course he's going to say that the car his company makes is good.

Fjordman said...

I have to agree with the Anti-Jihadist here. Famous people die from accidents, too, especially those involving cars, alcohol and high speed at the same time. Haider died from speeding and alcohol. The same with Diana. Case closed.

laine said...

As anti-jihadist said, in Diana's case her lack of a seatbelt was a factor in her death as well as drinking and speeding by her driver. The security chap sitting in the front passenger seat was belted in and survived his injuries. Diana and Dodi were thrown about like sacks of potatoes.

The laws of physics do not care about your star power.

Unfrench said...

Volkswagen is conducting an investigation and doesn't rule out sabotage. The Phaeton is one of the safest cars in the world.

So, no, the case is not closed, Mr. Fjordman. (Who do you think you are anyway? You are not in charge of the Haider case and it is not for you to open or close cases in Austria.)

Unfrench said...

Henrik left out these last few lines from his translation of the original German-language story:

"Erst die Medien, dann die Familie"
Die Anwältin, die Haider zu Lebzeiten vertreten hat und nun für dessen Familie aktiv wird, kritisierte außerdem, dass die Familie nach wie vor keine Akteneinsicht habe. "Es ist beispiellos, dass Ergebnisse eines Obduktionsberichtes zuerst an die Medien und erst dann an die Familie gelangen“, so Gheneff mit Verweis auf Berichte über die Alkoholisierung Haiders.
Gheneff kündigte eine Anzeige gegen die Staatsanwaltschaft und gegen Kranz wegen Verletzung des Amtsgeheimnisses an. Außerdem sei der Verdacht des Amtsmissbrauchs zu prüfen. Eingebracht werden soll die Anzeige bei der Oberstaatsanwaltschaft Graz und bei der Staatsanwaltschaft Klagenfurt.

My translation:

"first the media, then the family"
The attorney who used to represent Haider when he was still alive and is now in the employ of his family also criticized the fact that the family still haven't been granted access to the records. "It is unprecedented that results from a coroner's report are first leaked to the media before the family get to see it", said Gheneff, alluding to reports of Haider's high blood alcohol level.
Gheneff announced that she would press charges against the department of public prosecution and Kranz for breach of official secret. Moreover, she said that a probe should be conducted whether it had abused its authority as well. These charges are to be filed with the Graz Chief Public Prosecutor's office and the department of public prosecution in Klagenfurt.

The way public prosecution is handling this case is highly suspicious, to say the least.

Henrik R Clausen said...

@Spackle: Yes, the implication _is_ that Haider was gay, or at least bisexual. Austrian friends of mine have confirmed that this was a public secret for years before the accident. Deserves mention in context.

As for peddling conspiracy theories, I don't think this article does that. It removes more uncertainties and solidifies what I've said before: It looks like just an accident.

That VW examines the wreckage and seeks to rule out tampering is only proper, conspiracies or not. They just had a high-profile accident with one of their best cars, and a lot of prestige is at stake for them. They need, for commercial reasons, to rule out that the car misbehaved.

Even the best of cars can not protect you from the laws of physics when you go at speeds of 140-180 km/h (I've seen various figures quoted). A person in a state of drunkenness too heavy to walk properly will misreact badly when his car gets in trouble. Tracktion control and the like is all very good, but if the car has been manouvered slightly off the road into the gravel already, it won't be guaranteed that it saves your life.

Good point about acceleration, BTW. This car will reach breackneck speeds before even feeling uncomfortable, in particular to people too intoxicated to notice discomfort at all. The number on the speedometer is just that - a number.

The only chance left for conspiracy peddlers is that VW will come up with something sensational. I'm not holding my breath for that to happen.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

Remember how Volvo often claimed that their cars were the safest in the world? Not so.

The phaeton may well have a lot of safety features but these cars simply aren't designed to survive rolling several times at 150+kph, nor is there a Euro NCAP test for that particular scenario. The safety features on these cars are primarily designed for collisions, not rolls. If they were designed to survive rolls then at the very least they'd have cross-over restraints.

Even so, on the face of the evidence it looks like the car rolled over a tree stump or some sort of post. Even if it had a perfect roll cage and airbags out of the wazoo you aren't going to survive the cabin being punctured over your head in that fashion.

I don't care how convenient it looks - and it does, I realise that - the fact is, accidents happen. When you're time is due it's due and nothing can change that.

Joanne said...

Blood alcohol level at 1.8 ppm, travelling upwards of 170 mph, and a curve in the road spells disaster anyway you look at it.

It's a good thing he didn't kill those in the car he was trying to pass.

I know people who had a couple drinks and were slipped the date rape drug and people thought they were just plastered. Unfortunately, as cynical as I am, until all the evidence is in....it all seems rather convenient.

Zenster said...

However convenient this whole affair may seem, it is also a solid reminder of why one should:

NEVER ATTRIBUTE TO CONSPIRACY THAT WHICH CAN BE EXPLAINED BY SIMPLE STUPIDITY.

Afonso Henriques said...

"NEVER ATTRIBUTE TO CONSPIRACY THAT WHICH CAN BE EXPLAINED BY SIMPLE STUPIDITY."

Indeed Zenster, and even more than stupidity, logic.

But I think many people here fail to understand "conspiracy theories" like I (and probably others) do.
You see, I do not believe that he was killed with all the information I get from the case. However, it is always good to have an alternative explanation so that when the first, more plausible explanation starts to shake, and to be harder to believe, one has another "view" of what happened.

It's like, always wanting to know the two sides of the story.