Veli Ahmadov, the bus driver who allegedly hit three Austrian synchronised swimmers on the eve of the European Games here, has been arrested by police, it has been confirmed by the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry and prosecutors.
The incident, which took place in the Baku 2015 Athletes’ Village on Thursday (June 11), resulted in at all three of the 15-year-old athletes receiving injuries, with the most serious suffered by Vanessa Sahinovic.
Sahinovic was flown back to Vienna, after the incident and currently is in a medically induced coma, having undergone surgery for injuries to her pelvic region, thigh and spine affected.
The swimmer was confirmed as being in a stable condition yesterday but expected to undergo further operations within the next week, in which her recovery schedule may also become clear.
In a joint statement on the incident the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry and prosecutors have announced that a criminal case has been opened against him with the driver accused of a breach of road rules.
Additionally the Austrian Olympic Committee (ÖOC) have revealed they had received information that the driver had immediately admitted his guilt in the incident and indicated he had mistaken the accelerator for the brake pedal leading to the collision.
While the authority’s investigations continue in the crash the ÖOC also claimed a defect in the shuttle bus had not been detected, with alcohol and drug testing of the driver also coming back negative.
Reports that the driver had been under the influence of alcohol and that some staff had been drunk at the Village have emerge, although Ahmadov’s negative test appears to draw a line under suggestions alcohol had been a contributing factor in the crash.
Luna Pajer was also forced to fly back to Austria having sustained an arm fracture in the incident, which took place at 8.30am on Thursday, while Verena Breit the third athlete injured, been released from the University Hospital of Baku shortly after the crash, having received a thigh contusion.
As a consequence of the crash Austria had been unable to compete in the team synchronised swimming qualifier yesterday, but have fielded athletes in duets, solo and free combination events.
June 2015: Synchronised swimmer Sahinovic stable after surgery following bus accident
June 2015: Three Austrian synchronised swimmers injured in collision with bus at Baku 2015 Athletes' Village