Woman gored to death in Spanish bull run

9th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

A running bull gored and killed a woman spectator who poked her head through the barrier during a town bull run in central Spain on Thursday, authorities said.

"After poking her head through the bars she received a fatal blow to the head from a bull at the back of the herd," said a statement by the town hall of Arganda del Rey near Madrid.

The beast's horn pierced the neck of 48-year-old Maria del Carmen Lopez del Burgo who died shortly afterwards, an emergency worker at the scene told RNE public radio.

The bull peeled off the back of the herd and then suddenly turned to face the barrier before lowering its head and charging it as the crowd began to scream, a video posted on the website of daily newspaper El Pais showed.

The bull "literally blew the head apart... Everyone who was there was shocked," a witness told the online edition of daily El Mundo.

Several young men then tried to distract the beast by waving t-shirts in front of the animal and it turned away from the barrier and eventually went away.

The town hall said it would hold a minute's silence for the victim, a married mother of a 15-year-old boy, and expressed its condolences to her family,

But Arganda del Rey mayor Pablo Rodriguez Sardinero said the town festival, which wraps up on Monday, would continue although the festivities on Thursday would not include music in a sign of mourning for the victim.

Since 2000 at least 36 people have been gored to death in bull runs in Spain, according to the media.

Only on Monday, a bull gored a 41-year-old bricklayer and killed him, lancing the man's lung and a major artery during a bull run in the central Spanish town of Villaseca de la Sagra.

Towns across Spain hold festivals in which crowds of people show run ahead a pack of bulls, which thunder through the streets towards the bull ring for a fight.

In the most famous bull run in Pamplona in July, 37 people including 11 foreigners were injured this year.

Professional bullfighters also face the risk of serious injury or death.

A half-tonne bull jabbed one of its horns into the throat and out of the mouth of top Spanish matador Julio Aparicio on May 21 in Madrid's 25,000-seat Las Ventas arena.He left hospital two weeks later barely able to speak.

There is intense debate in Spain over the centuries-old tradition of bullfighting.

The northeastern region of Catalonia in July became the first part of mainland Spain to ban bullfighting, which animal activists condemn as a form of torture but others see as part of the country's cultural heritage.

In a recent opinion poll, 60 percent of Spaniards said they do not approve of the spectacle, which culminates with the death of the bull from a matador's well-placed sword.

© 2010 AFP

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