Saturday 22 October 2016

Four gored at Pamplona bull run

Published 11/07/2015 | 12:21

A cow jumps over a group of revelers on the bull ring, at the San Fermin Festival, in Pamplona, Spain (AP)
A cow jumps over a group of revelers on the bull ring, at the San Fermin Festival, in Pamplona, Spain (AP)

Four people have been gored and five others were injured during the fifth bull run at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, northern Spain.

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One bull charged into runners, goring one deeply in a thigh while cutting another runner's leg as it lifted its head.

Red Cross spokesman Jose Aldaba said four people received treatment after being gored while at least five others were recovering from bruising.

Kiko Betelu, of the Navarra region's medical service, said three of the gorings were simple to treat but one of the injuries was deep and required surgery.

Meanwhile, one bull chosen to take part in the event took one look at thousands of thrill-seekers waiting to be chased down Pamplona's narrow streets before scampering back to the safety of his corral.

In a scene that confounded revellers and experts, a reticent bull named Curioso barely ran 20 yards before deciding to head back.

One of the revellers injured by Curioso's five stable-mates included a 20-year-old American man.

Normally six bulls run in the San Fermin festival, but on this occasion Curioso - a 1,180lb beast belonging to the Jose Escolar breeding ranch - had to be transported to the ring to join the other five.

Unlike the gentle, flower-sniffing Ferdinand the bull from Munro Leaf's tale "The Story of Ferdinand", who similarly turned his back on bullfighting, Curioso almost certainly won't get a chance to retire in peace and quiet.

According to San Fermin experts commenting for state television TVE, the last time a bull turned back to the holding pen was in the 19th century.

The run covers 930 yards from a holding pen on the edge of town to the central bullring where the beasts - including Curioso - face matadors and almost certain death in afternoon bullfights.

The cobblestoned streets of Pamplona were packed with thrill-seekers who had travelled to the northern city to take part in the annual San Fermin festivities. The weekend runs are traditionally the most popular and well-attended.

The nine-day fiesta, running from July 6 to 14, was immortalised in Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises.

Every morning of the festival at 8am, the bulls race through the medieval streets accompanied by an equal number of large steers - each wearing a clanking cowbell - tasked with keeping the pack tight and galloping at an even pace.

This was the first time that breeder Escolar - whose heaviest animal was the 1,280lb Costurero - had presented bulls for this festival, which dates back to the late 16th century.

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