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13 Sep 2004 09:34
Two Spanish men were gored to death by fighting bulls on Sunday during the bull-run at the local fiestas in Ampuero, a town about 50km east of the northern port city of Santander.
Eleven other people were injured in the traditional Ampuero bull-run—similar to the San Fermin festivals of Pamplona—as the bulls rampaged up and down streets closed for the event.
Four of the injured remained in a serious condition in hospital on Sunday as the practice of running before bulls, which has spread to towns across Spain, came under the spotlight.
Ampuero’s mayor ordered the fiestas closed after the death of Raimundo Rabre Hernando (48) and Daniel Torres Santiesteban (47).
The older man bled to death on the way to hospital after a bull’s horn pierced his jugular vein, medical sources said. The other died a few hours later in the operating theatre of the local hospital.
The run through the town’s streets to the bullring is meant to take a few minutes, but lasted for 25 minutes after the bulls split up, turned around and created havoc among the local runners and visitors.
At least one of those killed was a spectator, who was dragged off the barriers marking the course when a bull caught him by the trouser leg.
“One of the bulls went along the barriers, going for everything he could see,” a resident told the Tele 5 television channel.
Pools of blood on the tarmac of Ampuero’s streets marked the spots where the bulls found their victims.
Fermin Mier Laguillo, a spokesperson for the regional government, blamed the deaths on the introduction of fully grown, half-tonne bulls to the fiestas.
“Normally, this run is done with young bulls, but on this occasion fully grown bulls were used, with this unfortunate effect,” Laguillo told the Associated Press news agency.
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