Injury Count High at Pamplona Bull Runs

ByABC News
July 10, 2000, 10:04 AM

P A M P L O N A, Spain, July 10 -- For those keeping track, the count stands at 113.

Injuries, that is, as the annual Running of the Bulls continued in Pamplona, Spain this weekend. Sixteen people have been hospitalized with serious injuries in four days.

The cobblestone streets of this northern Spanish town were slippery with dew, alcohol and trash from parties that rage during the eight-day San Fermín Festival.

Overcrowding has been a major problem, increasing the danger to the runners on the 900-yard course. About 1.6 million people are expected to visit during the festival.

Roller Blades Are Out

No one keeps track of how many people run, but locals say the number jumps on weekends as people flock to Pamplona. The narrow streets are clogged with dozens of people tripping over each other trying to dodge the bulls. On Saturday police led away a young woman wearing roller blades just as the run was about to begin.

So many runners packed Estafeta Street that on Saturday two of the bulls slowed down to a trot.

Some people taunted the bulls, slapping them and getting close to the horns. Others tried to hang on to the bulls. Besides being dangerous, that is considered insulting to the bull.

Todays run was disgraceful, said Javier Solano, a veteran San Fermin commentator for Spanish state television.

The runners taking on the bulls included hundreds of Americans. Several wore suits and ties in homage to the runners in the early 1900s.

Gored Twice

This morning, in what was the longest and most dangerous run so far this year, three men were gored one in the face and were taken to hospital, a health official said. None of the injuries were thought to be life-threatening.

Two confused animals became separated from the rest of the pack and careered slowly up the street, one catching an unlucky runner and goring him twice during a hair-raising episode which left his trousers in tatters.

Another young man was carried up the street for more than 10 yards dangling from a bulls horn by his shirt, although he did not appear to be seriously injured.