June 13, 2015

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) A bus driver has been arrested after his vehicle crashed into three 15-year-old Austrian swimmers at the European Games, leaving one severely injured.

Veli Ahmadov is accused of a breach of road rules and a criminal case has been opened against him, the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry and prosecutors said in a joint statement.

The statement said Ahmadov was the driver of a bus which struck three members of Austria's synchronized swimming team in the athletes' village Thursday morning.

One of the athletes, Vanessa Sahinovic, sustained severe spinal injuries after being hit by the bus, which veered onto the sidewalk.

Her teammate Luna Pajer had a broken elbow, while the third girl, Verena Breit, escaped with bruises. Sahinovic and Pajer were flown home to Austria for treatment.

Azerbaijani authorities also said that the company which employed Ahmadov - Bakubus - could face legal action for possibly breaching rules on employing qualified drivers.

Earlier Saturday, European Games organizers said they would look into allegations that some village staff had been drunk on duty.

Reports in Azerbaijani media suggested alcohol may have been a factor in the crash and that some staff at the village had been drinking on site.

The organizing committee's chief operating officer Simon Clegg said claims of drunkenness were ''a very serious suggestion'' and would be ''investigated immediately''.

However, there was no evidence to link the claims to the bus incident, Clegg said.

''There is absolutely nothing to suggest at this moment in time that alcohol played any part in the tragic incident,'' he said.

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