AT LEAST 23 people were injured yesterday during the last-but-one bull run of Spain’s week-long San Fermin festival.
Thrill-seekers fleeing the animals were crushed at the entrance to the Pamplona bullring, with two of the runners being gored.
Witnesses described a chaotic scene, as the bulls thundered into the tunnel only to be blocked by dozens of people who had fallen on top of one another.
One bull that had fallen before the entrance got up and charged into the clogged passageway. Two steers – cattle which accompany the bulls – jumped over the pile of people as they began to get up and flee. A gate normally used to let regional police into ringside positions was pushed wide open by a flood of runners, causing an obstruction for others trying to enter the main arena.
Interior ministry spokesman Javier Morras said: “We all know that alley is a funnel and a critically dangerous point at the entrance to the ring. Pile-ups there are one of the biggest risks that can occur in the running of the bulls.”
The blockage ended after attendants managed to let the beasts escape through a side door normally used by matadors. Javier Sesma, a health spokeman for Navarra province, said two of the 23 injured were gored by bulls and that the others were hurt in the stampede.
Sesma said one runner, a 19-year-old Spaniard from Vitoria, was seriously injured when his thorax was crushed. An Irish citizen was almost suffocated in the crush.
“His situation remains very grave, but appears to be improving,” Sesma said of the Spaniard.