Two injured in Pamplona bull run

2013-07-09 13:47
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

Spain's Pamplona bull run festival

A red-and-white ocean of revellers packed the Spanish city of Pamplona on Saturday to launch the San Fermin festival, a nine-day mix of partying and fleeing huge, sharp-horned fighting bulls.

Pamplona - Thrill-seekers tumbled into each other in a scramble to escape six half-tonne fighting bulls thundering through the cobbled streets of Spain's northern city of Pamplona on Tuesday in a mad dash that sent two men to hospital.

The two injured men, Spaniards aged 30 and 47, suffered bruises in falls and were taken to hospital for treatment after the third bull run of the annual San Fermin festival, regional health officials said.

Runners jumped up and down to warm up and did stretching exercises before a firework set off the race, releasing six bulls and six steers to charge through the city to the bull ring, where they were to be slain by matadors.

The bulls from the Valdefresno ranch took just two minutes and 29 seconds to cover the winding 848.6m course.

Hundreds of people, most clad in traditional whites with a red scarf around the neck, fled as the large, sharp-horned beasts charged along the route. Spectators watched from balconies and from behind wooden barriers.

"It all happened very fast. I tripped but I managed to land on my hands and did not hurt myself. I couldn't see anything, just people going by. It was different from what I was expecting," said Matt Barney, a 26-year-old bartender from Wilmington in the US state of New York whose white trousers were dirtied at the knees from his fall.

Steer trampled to death

A black bull pulled away from the pack and was the first to charge into the city's bull ring where it was quickly followed by the rest of the beasts.

One young man turned to face the breakaway bull and fell on his back, forcing other runners to scramble to avoid trampling him.

"I ran for the first time and I was really nervous but it was over so quickly that I almost did not notice. The most dangerous part was the people pushing you, I saw people fall because of that," said 18-year-old Luis Arana Ferrado who is from the nearby Basque city of Bilbao and was staying with a group of friends at a Pamplona campsite for the festival.

One of the steers crashed into a bull at the entrance to the bull ring, fell to the ground and was then trampled by the rest of the herd.

The steer rose and turned away from the ring but fell once again and died a few minutes later, surrounded by bull run participants.

The daily bull runs are the highlight of a nine-day mix of partying and thrill-seeking that draws hundreds of thousands of people from around the world.

Up to 300 hurt each year

The festival in this city of 200 000 residents 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.

Each year 200-300 people are hurt in the bull runs, mostly with light injuries, while a few dozen land in hospital.

Most of the injuries are not caused by bull horns but by runners falling or getting 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 four years ago when a bull gored a 27-year-old Spaniard in the neck, heart and lungs.

On Monday a 26-year-old Spanish man plunged two to three metres from a medieval wall into a river and fractured his spine.

He is in serious but stable condition in hospital, the regional government of Navarra said in a statement.

Read more on:    spain  |  animals

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel


#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.