Published: Wed, July 10, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Bulls Stampede Through Pamplona on Second Day of Festival

Bulls Stampede Through Pamplona on Second Day of Festival

Two Americans were brutally injured after getting gored during the opening of Spain's wild running of the bulls festival - with seven more days to go.

A 6-ton bull ran over and gored San Francisco resident Jaime Alvarez in the neck during the first run of this year's San Fermin festival in Pamplona, an event immortalized by writer Ernest Hemingway almost a century ago.

Alvarez was rushed into emergency surgery Sunday, and was in stable condition as of Monday, with the expectation he could be released from the hospital today. "It was like being hit by a vehicle or a truck", Alvarez tells the AP.

Doctors told Alvarez the bull's horn went deep into his neck and fractured part of a cheekbone.

The three stopped in Pamplona to check out the San Fermin festival, an event immortalized by writer Ernest Hemingway almost a century ago, while in route to another city where the couple's son was playing in a soccer tournament. Next time, Alvarez said he will remain among the spectators.

The running of the bulls has been going on in Pamplona for over a century, and 16 deaths have been recorded since 1910, when records began being kept.

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That's when a stray bull came charging at him, striking him in the neck. He climbed up a fence to wait for the danger to pass and returned to the arena shortly after to shoot a victory video, "a 5-second video scene to say 'Here I am, I did it'".

The six bulls from the Cebada Gago ranch, which is known for raising ferocious animals, were surrounded by tame cattle for most of the 930-yard route to the bullring, leaving runners scrambling for limited space close to their horns.

During the festival, Pamplona's population swells from 200,000 to around 1.2 million, with visitors attracted by the adrenaline boost of bull runs along the 850-meter course - and the serious partying.

An fellow runner grabbed Alvarez by the arm and took him to the paramedics by pushing his way into the crowds and probably saving a life, said Alvarez, who vows to return to Pamplona to enjoy the festival but never again to run in it. City officials said the 40-year-old Spanish citizen was injured thigh, and two young Spaniard received a head injury.

The race lasted 2 minutes and 23 seconds.

During a typical bullfight, several men taunt and stab the bull with harpoon-like banderillas until he becomes weakened from blood loss.

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