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The annual bull run through the streets of Pamplona has seen three men gored by bulls and a total of six people taken to hospital during the San Fermin festival. Two Spaniards aged 31 and 42 respectively as well as a 20 year old American have been hospitalised after suffering serious injuries.
There is a certain weary inevitability about the fact that releasing irate bulls into the narrow, cobbled streets and then running around in front of them, tends to end in injury. This year, one half tonne bull had split off from the main herd of six sharp-horned bulls and six steers and predictably began charging into runners.
One of the Spanish victims was tossed him around by the bull’s horns for almost 30 seconds as people tried to distract the animal by pulling its tail. The American suffered major injuries to his abdomen and another three people were hospitalised with injuries brought on by falls and trampling.
"A lot of people fell along the route, it was really dangerous," said Alan Carpenter, a 38-year-old banker from Chicago after taking part in his third Pamplona bull run.
Dozens of people are injured each year in the "encierros," as the runs are called in Spanish. With the Spanish apparently blissfully unaware of Health and Safety, 15 people have actually died in the runs since records started being kept with the last fatality coming four years ago when a young Spaniard was killed.
The runs happen over nine days of festivities during San Fermin. The route is 850 metres and Friday’s run lasted 5 minutes – far longer than usual as the pack of bulls had split. Beginning at 8 am and beamed out on live television. The bulls that take part each morning are killed by matadors in evening bull fights, and their meat is served up in Pamplona's restaurants. Lovely.