- POSTED: 08 Jul 2014 20:58
Half-tonne fighting bulls trampled and knocked over runners on a breakneck bull run in Spain's San Fermin festival on Tuesday, injuring three people, one of them seriously, officials said.
PAMPLONA: Half-tonne fighting bulls trampled and knocked over runners on a breakneck bull run in Spain's San Fermin festival on Tuesday, injuring three people, one of them seriously, officials said.
Daredevils, many in traditional white clothing with red kerchiefs around their necks, tripped over each other or fell in the mad dash through the narrow, cobbled streets of the northern Spanish city of Pamplona.
No one was gored but a 23-year-old Briton from Nottingham fractured several ribs and injured his chest during the run, regional health authorities said. He was in a serious condition in hospital.
A 23-year-old Japanese man from Okayama who suffered bruises to his knee and elbow and a 36-year-old Pamplona native who bruised his back were also taken to hospital. Their injuries were deemed to be light.
Dozens more people were treated at the scene for bruises, scrapes and cuts.
The fighting bulls from the Dolores Aguirre ranch took just two minutes and 22 seconds to cover the 850-metre (2,800-foot) course from a holding pen to Pamplona bull ring where the beasts will face matadors in an evening bullfight.
Several runners crashed against a wall in a curve along the route and were trampled by the bulls.
"I managed to run alongside the bull and then fell over. Some bloke pulled me under the wooden fence and out of its way," said John Ross, 41, who came from Manchester for the festival and whose knees were bloodied from the fall.
Beside him stood his older brother Martin Ross, who scratched his forehead and soiled his white trousers in a fall during the run.
"The first 15 seconds were good. Then I tumbled and people piled into me. I am the guy who people are going to blame for causing them to fall," he said at a bar near the bull ring after the run.
- 'It was war' -
One young man dressed in white fell to the ground at the entrance to the bull ring and clasped his head in his hands as the bulls raced by.
"It was war. People pushed and grabbed onto you," said Javier Alvarez, a 23-year-old from Pamplona who wore a white Real Madrid jersey with the name of German midfielder Mesut Ozil on the back.
A bull gored one 52-year-old Spaniard in the groin area during the first bull run of the festival on Monday. He remains in hospital but his injury was not considered serious.
Another four Spaniards were taken to hospital for various injuries, two of them in serious condition.
The San Fermin festival, a heady nine-day mix of partying and adrenaline-chasing, draws hundreds of thousands of people from around the world to Pamplona, a city of around 300,000.
It was made famous by Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises".
The bull runs are believed to have started when butchers began running ahead of the beasts they were bringing from the countryside to the San Fermin festival.
Last year, 50 people were taken to hospital during the festival's eight runs, including 23 revellers caught in a bloody human pile-up on the final day of the fiesta.
Several hundred more were treated for minor injuries at the scene.
Most injuries are not caused by bull horns but by runners falling, or being knocked over or trampled by the animals.
Fifteen people have been killed in the bull runs since records started in 1911.
The most recent death took place five years ago when a bull gored a 27-year-old Spaniard in the neck, heart and lungs.