Irish citizen injured during Pamplona bull run

More than 20 people hurt in crush involving fallen participants

Revellers run with Fuente Ymbro’s fighting bulls entering the bullring during the eighth day of the San Fermin Running Of The Bulls festival in Pamplona, Spain. Photograph: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images.

Revellers run with Fuente Ymbro’s fighting bulls entering the bullring during the eighth day of the San Fermin Running Of The Bulls festival in Pamplona, Spain. Photograph: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images.

Sat, Jul 13, 2013, 14:15

At least 21 people, including an Irish citizen, were injured today during Spain’s San Fermin bull run when participants were crushed at the narrow entrance to the bull ring, officials said.

As the bulls thundered into the entrance of the tunnel in Pamplona, they were blocked by a mound of dozens of people who had fallen and were piled on top of one another.

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.

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Spanish health authorities said an Irish citizen was among those hurt. Local broadcaster RTVE said it was an Irish man. Javier Sesma, health spokesperson for Navarra province, said an Irish citizen had suffered asphyxia. He did not say if it was a man or a woman.

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman said the Irish embassy in Madrid was looking into the reports but that nothing had been confirmed at this stage.

Mr Sesma said two of the 21 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.

“It is a very grave situation. He’s in a stable condition, but it’s very serious,” Mr 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 organises the annual festivities. The rest of the injured suffered cuts and bruises. Mr Sesma said one spectator suffered a heart attack while watching the stampede.

Yesterday, 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 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 honor 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 tomorrow, were made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises.

The fiesta attracts tens of thousands of young people, many from abroad, eager to mix alcohol with the adrenaline of running alongside the massive bulls at 8 o’clock every morning. Dozens of people are injured each year, with gorings often producing the most dramatic injuries. The last fatal goring happened in 2009.

Agencies