Total of 44 hurt at San Fermin festival

16th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

The eight-day bull run festival which ended Tuesday left 44 injured and one dead.

Madrid – Four people, including tourists from Britain, France and the United States, were injured Tuesday on the last day of the Pamplona bull run in Spain which was overshadowed by the death of a young man, organisers said.

The four men were taken to hospital after the run. The Briton, 25, from Scotland, suffered a head injury, the American, 35, and the Spaniard, 18, had broken ankles, and the Frenchman, 33, sprained his knee, a spokeswoman said.

The injuries brought to 44 the number of people who were injured in the morning bull runs held during the eight-day San Fermin festival, according to an AFP tally.

Most of the injuries were caused by runners falling, getting knocked over or trampled by the bulls, which can weigh up to 700 kilograms (1,500 pounds), and not by being gored by the animals' horns.

About 2,000 people, mostly men, take part in the bull runs on weekdays and 3,500 at the weekend. The crowds race ahead of a pack of thundering bulls along an 825 metre (900 yard) course over cobbled streets to the town bullring.

The final bull run of this year's San Fermin festival held on Tuesday was quick, lasting around two minutes 20 seconds.

One of the bulls stood out by breaking away from the pack. It ran ahead and knocked over several people, but they were not hurt.

On Friday, Spanish factory worker Daniel Jimeno Romero, 27, died after being gored in the neck and lungs in front of thousands of tourists.

He was the 15th person to die in the annual run since 1911, but the first to be fatally gored since 1995 when a 22-year-old American was killed.

A US national was injured on Friday in a fall during the bull run as well as a Frenchman who suffered neck injuries after falling into a pond.

Despite fierce criticism from animal rights groups, the San Fermin festival, made famous by Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises, attracts thousands of tourists to watch or take part in the bull runs.

In the afternoon, the same bulls face matadors in the ring while the night is given over to partying. Pamplona authorities have stepped up precautions in recent years to stop people who have drunk too much alcohol taking part.

Romero's death has led to renewed calls for tougher safety measures. Daily newspaper El Mundo said limits on the number of participants in the bull runs should be imposed and escape exits set up for runners cornered by stray bulls.

AFP / Expatica

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