THE penultimate bull run of Pamplona’s San Fermin festival left at least 23 people injured on Saturday, when runners fleeing the bulls were crushed at the narrow entrance to the bullring. Two of the injuries were gorings.
In shocking scenes broadcast live on Spanish television, there was a huge crush when the animals charged a crowd at the narrow entrance to the bullring.
Runners were shown being trampled while the bulls tried to climb over them from behind.
A gate normally used to let regional police into ringside positions was pushed wide open by a flood of runners, causing an obstruction for others trying to enter the main arena, Interior Ministry regional spokesman Javier Morras said.
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 23 injured people were gored by bulls and that the others were hurt in the stampede.
Mr. 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.
“His situation remains very grave, but he appears to be evolving favorably,” Mr. Sesma said of the Spaniard. “We are hopeful. His life was at risk, but he is now more stable.”
One person was gored in his buttock and another in an armpit during the 928-yard (850-meter) dash through Pamplona’s narrow streets, the official said. Neither injury was serious, said the Navarra government, which organizes the annual festivities. One of those gored had received treatment in one of the two operating rooms at the bullring, Mr. Sesma said.
The rest of the injured sustained cuts and bruises.
Mr. Sesma said one spectator had a heart attack while watching the stampede.
The festival in this northern city dates back to the late 16th century and also is known for its all-night street parties.
The runs, eight in all, are the highlight of a nine-day street festival to honour Pamplona’s patron saint, San Fermin.
Each morning, six fighting bulls and six bell-tinkling steers that try to keep the beasts together head from stables to the ring where matadors will star in late afternoon bullfights.
The festivities, which end today, were made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises.”
Dozens of people are injured each year. The last fatal goring happened in 2009.