The inaugural 2015 European Games are officially scheduled begin tomorrow, Friday, June 12th in Baku, Azerbaijan, but, unfortunately, tragedy has already has already arrived.
Three synchronized swimmers, all teenagers, from Austria were injured just today when they were struck by a shuttle bus within the athletes’ village. The Austrian Olympic Committee identified Vanessa Sahinovic as having “multiple fractures and other severe injuries”, while teammate Luna Pajer suffered injuries to her arm. Sahinovic and Pajer were flown back to Austria to continue intensive care treatment, while Verena Breit was released with minor injuries.
Said the AOC of the incident which happened at 8:30am local time, “The girls were walking on the sidewalk of the Olympic Village when a shuttle bus hit them. We’re shocked about the accident and took all necessary steps right away.”
SwimSwam’s managing editor, Braden Keith, whose family lived in Baku for a time, was less shocked. “I haven’t been since the Games preparation began, but when I was there, the driving was insane. 6 columns of traffic on a 3 lane road was the norm.”
For their part, the organizing committee for the Games, BEGOC, said in a statement to the press that it “places the safety and welfare of all athletes as its number one priority.”
The Opening Ceremonies for the 2015 European Games is scheduled for Friday, with the first sporting event taking place on Saturday. 6,000 athletes from 50 European nations are expected to compete across 253 medal events. The Synchronized swimming competition is slated for June 13-17th.
The BEGOC’s statement can be read in its entirety below:
“BEGOC medical services responded to an incident this morning at the Transport Hub within the Athletes’ Village in Baku which led to three Austrian athletes being immediately transported to hospital. BEGOC places the safety and welfare of all athletes as its number one priority. At this time we are unable to give further details but an update will follow later today.”