1 person gored, 6 hurt in running of the bulls

July 8, 2011 - 5:59 AM
Spain Running of the Bulls

A reveler falls next to a Cebada Gago ranch fighting bull during the running of the bulls at the San Fermin fiestas on Friday, July 8, 2011, in Pamplona, Spain.(AP Photo/Ivan Aguinaga)

PAMPLONA, Spain (AP) — An Australian man was gored in the leg and six other people were injured Friday as daredevils ran with fighting bulls at the San Fermin festival in Pamploma.

The second of eight mad dashes at Spain's most famous summer festival featured bulls known for being fast and prone to poking people with their horns.

The Navarra regional government said on its website that besides the 25-year-old gored man, six other people were treated at hospitals, most of them foreigners. None of their names or hometowns were given.

Two Americans aged 22 and 21 — the first with an injured right leg, the second with a hurt lip — were treated and released. The other four were a Briton from Birmingham, an Italian from Rome, another Australian and a Spaniard, all with minor injuries from falls or being trampled.

The Australian who was gored had taunted a brown bull from close up in the bullring that marks the end of the sprint. The injury he suffered to an artery and vein in his right leg was described as serious, although the San Fermin press office said his life was not in danger. The man waved his arms at the 1,200-pound (550-kilogram) bull, then slipped and fell and was attacked.

Friday's run was fast for the most part because the six fighting bulls and six steers meant to keep them more or less in a pack did in fact stay together for much of the 928-yard (850-meter) course.

But the brown bull that attacked at the end had separated from the pack about halfway through the run — among the most dangerous things that can happen at San Fermin. A bull that is isolated can get disoriented and nervous and even start running the wrong way.

When bulls finish the run by trotting into the ring, runners are supposed to keep clear and let handlers with capes or long, thin sticks guide animals into stalls, as crowds in the stands cheer. But the Australian man committed the San Fermin faux pas of getting up close to the bull and teasing it in a flashy way by waving his arms.

Another of the injured was a man who fell to the ground early in the run and saw virtually the entire pack of bulls and steers run over him.

The festival has six more runs to go. The Saturday and Sunday ones are usually the most dangerous because the crowd of runners that come from around the world swells with thrill-seekers who come into town just for the weekend.

(This version CORRECTS Raises injury toll to 6; corrects age of gored Australian to 25, not 24; adds photos.)