Spain's Running of the Bulls: Several People Injured

07/13/2013 at 09:10 AM EDT

Spain's Running of the Bulls: Several People Injured
Bulls and runners blocked at the entrance of the bullring of Pamplona during the seventh bullrun
EPA/Landov
At least 21 people were injured during Spain's San Fermin bull run on Saturday when thrill-seekers fleeing the beasts were crushed at the narrow entrance to the bullring, officials said.

As the huge animals thundered into the entrance of the tunnel, they were blocked by a mound of dozens of people who had fallen and were piled on top of one other.

One bull that had fallen before the entrance got up and charged into the clogged passageway. Two steers jumped over the pile of people as they began to get up and flee.

The blockage ended after attendants managed to let the beasts escape through a side door normally reserved for matadors.



Javier Sesma, a health spokesman for Navarra province, said two of the 21 injured people were gored by bulls and that the others were hurt in the stampede.

Sesma said one runner, a 19-year-old Spaniard from Vitoria city, was seriously injured when his thorax was crushed at the bull ring entrance. An Irish citizen also suffered asphyxia.

"It is a very grave situation. He's in a stable condition, but it's very serious," Sesma said of the Spaniard.

One person was gored in his buttock and another in an armpit during the 928-yard dash through Pamplona's narrow streets, the official said. Neither injury was serious, said the Navarra government, which organizes the annual festivities.

The rest of the injured suffered cuts and bruises.

Sesma said one spectator suffered a heart attack while watching the stampede.

On Friday, the festival drew widespread attention when an American college student and two Spaniards were gored, and videos and photos of the attacks were seen around the world.

The American was identified as Patrick Ekols, 20, though his hometown was been reported.

The nine-day festivities, which end Sunday, date back to the late 16th century and honor Pamplona's patron saint, San Fermin. They were made famous by Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises.

In all, there are eight bull runs. The last fatal goring took place in 2009.

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