Nine in hospital after first day of Sanfermines bull runs

8th July 2008, Comments 0 comments

The nine people, who suffered mild injuries such as a concussion and broken nose, include internationals from United States, United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand.

8 July 2008

MADRID - At least nine people, several of them from English-speaking countries, were hospitalised on Monday following the first running of the bulls in Pamplona, which is hosting its famous nine-day Sanfermines celebration.

Many of the injured were men in their twenties who took part in the early-morning run down Pamplona's cobblestoned city centre and into the bullring, where the six bulls from the Corte de la Conde ranch were to be fought in the afternoon.

The injuries - none of which were caused by gorings but rather by falls and blows - ranged from concussion to a broken nose. There were at least five Spanish victims, besides one from the United States, one from Britain, one from South Africa and one from New Zealand.

Experts described Monday's run as "dangerous," after a few bulls broke off from the herd and lost their bearings, running amok among a group of runners who were standing nearby. It took over four minutes for the last of the fighting bulls to enter the ring, a slow time compared to other years' standards.

Statistically, Mondays have been shown to be the most dangerous day of the Sanfermines.

Before beginning the first of this year's eight runs, organisers and runners paid tribute to Iñaki Ochoa, the veteran mountaineer who died during an expedition to the Himalayas two months ago, and who used to participate in the first stretch of the encierros every year.

A 23-year-old Irishman died on Sunday night after falling off a 30-meter wall surrounding the old part of the city. Since 1924, 14 people have died during the runs, and several more from accidents such as this one.

[El Pais / S. U. / Expatica]

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