Two gored in Spanish bull run

2011-07-12 14:12

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Pamplona - Fighting bulls gored two young men on Tuesday as the animals tore through the winding streets of Pamplona in Spain's San Fermin festival, officials said.

More than a thousand thrill-seekers ran alongside the six bulls and six steers bolting through the streets of the northern city, some daring to get as close as possible to their horns.

Seven people were injured, including the two who suffered gorings, on the sixth of eight daily runs of the festival.

One bull's horn pierced a man's chest and another skewered a daredevil in the right arm, organisers said. Others among the injured had broken bones, cuts and bruises.

Further details of the injuries were not immediately available.

Bulls' fastest running time

The six bulls and six steers with bells around their necks raced 846.6m through the cobbled streets from a pen to the bullring in just two minutes 16 seconds, the fastest time of this year's festival.

One man tripped and fell just as he entered the bullring and lay motionless on the ground with his face down as the bulls passed around.

A firecracker was set off at 08:00 when the bulls were released and another was lit to signal that the last animal of the pack had left the corral, setting the crowd of runners on their mad dash ahead of the pack.

Before the start of the run many daredevils gathered at the beginning of the route to pray for protection before a small statue of San Fermin - the patron saint of the region of Navarra of which Pamplona is the capital.

Good viewing spots

Cristina Palomar, a 46-year-old Madrid office worker, watched the bull run with her husband from behind a wooden barrier near the bull ring after promising herself for years that she would come one day.

"You see less of the run being here than on television but you feel much more," she said as the crowd started to disperse after the run.

Many arrive at the best vantage points along the route hours before the run has begun.

Helena Morales said she arrived with her boyfriend at around 05:00 to ensure she got a good place near the bullring.

"What is one hour less of sleep, this way you don't leave frustrated because you could not see," the 32-year-old from Valencia said, sitting on top of a wooden barrier along the route just before the run got underway.

Injuries and deaths

Every year between 200 and 300 participants in the run are injured. Most are hurt after falling but some are trampled or gored by the bulls despite increased safety measures.

The last death occurred two years ago when a bull gored a 27-year-old Spaniard to death, piercing his neck, heart and lungs with its horns in front of hordes of tourists.

With one litre bottles of beer selling for as little as €3 near the bullring, alcohol is sometimes to blame for accidents, a factor that is closely policed in Pamplona.

In the most serious injury so far this year, a 25-year-old Australian man was gored in his right thigh during Friday's bull run after he taunted one of the bulls. He was later said to be improving.

A 23-year-old French fireman was also gored, less seriously, on Saturday after he stumbled and fell.

The city of some 200 000 residents expects the festival, which runs until Thursday, will lure at least as many tourists as last year when 1.5 million people turned out and hotels reported an occupancy rate of over 90%.
Read more on:    spain  |  animals
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