Three 15 year-old Austrian synchronized swimmers were hit by a bus at the athletes’ village, a day before the start of the inaugural European Games in Azerbaijan. A chilling video shows the vehicle failing to stop, and plowing into the unsuspecting girls.
Two of the victims, Vanessa Sahinovic, and Luna Pajer, were immediately flown back to Vienna in the personal jet of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on Thursday, while a third, Verena Breit was well enough to perform on Friday.
One member of the Austrian national swim team was in a coma Friday and two more were seriously injured after being hit by a bus at the European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Synchronized swimmer Vanessa Sahinovic, 15, is being kept in an induced coma after suffering multiple bone fractures, including her spine, in the accident Thursday. While doctors say her injuries are not life threatening, they can’t rule out the possibility the athlete could be paralyzed, the BBC reported.
“The doctors in their statement are telling us it’s (paralysis) possible, but they need another week before they are sure about her condition, that is a normal scenario we are being told,” Austrian team press officer Wolfgang Eichler told reporters Friday.
Sahinovic was flown from Azerbaijan to Vienna and underwent 10 hours of surgery. A hospital spokesman said further surgery would be necessary.
“Vanessa underwent a very long operation having arrived back in Vienna on Thursday evening and we believe the operation has helped to stabilize her condition,” Eichler said.
Fellow swimmer Luna Pajer– also flown back to Austria—has an arm injury that’s “more complicated” than first anticipated, Eichler said.
A third teammate, Verena Breit, was treated in Azerbaijan Thursday and was back in the athletes’ village Friday.
There is no word yet on why the bus veered out of control.
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