Sports: Bus incident prompts extra safety measures at European Games

Sports: Bus incident prompts extra safety measures at European Games
PHOTO: AFP

BAKU, Azerbaijan - The incident that saw three Austrian synchronised swimmers injured, one seriously, after being hit by a bus on the eve of the opening of the inaugural European Games in Baku has led to new safety measures being implemented, Chief Operating Officer Simon Clegg said Sunday.

Two of the three teenagers were flown home to Vienna last Thursday with 15-year-old Vanessa Sahinovic being placed in an artificial coma with hip, thigh and spinal injuries and undergoing surgery that night.

Teammate Luna Pajer was also repatriated from Baku with a broken bone, but the third victim Verena Breit, who sustained bruising on her right leg in the incident, returned to the Athletes Village soon after the accident.

The incident is presently under investigation by the police - the images captured on camera show the bus travelling at speed and taking a corner with the girls and their companions in clear sight and then hitting them with one being dragged for 20m under the vehicle.

"Yes there have been changes made (to our transport policy)," said Clegg at his morning press conference on Sunday.

"Immediately there was a review of all transportation. Not only at the athletes village and the media village but at the venues.

"Where appropriate we have additional water-filled and concrete bollards which were put in place over night.

"In addition all of the drivers, not just the bus drivers, but also those driving the TX system (a special taxi service for certain people at the Games) have been advised of the situation and instructed to follow the very clear instructions they were given regarding transportation to and from the venues," added the 55-year-old Englishman.

The accident placed a cloud over the opening of the Games which has 6,000 athletes from 50 countries competing in 20 sports - it runs till June 28 - and has seen the energy-rich host country's government spend several billion dollars on.

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