An Australian woman has been gored by a bull and seriously injured in the running of the bulls festival in Pamplona in Spain.
The 23-year-old woman from NSW was in hospital after being injured on Sunday in the final bull run of this year’s annual San Fermin festival, an Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) spokeswoman confirmed.
The woman, identified only as J.E., was gored in the back and suffered multiple rib fractures and damage to her right lung that left her in “very grave” condition after an operation at Navarra Hospital, said the regional government that organises the festival.
Officers from the Australian embassy in Madrid were providing the woman with consular assistance, the DFAT spokeswoman said on Sunday evening.
The woman was struck by a massive Miura bull as she clung to wooden barriers outside the bullring entrance, regional health authority spokesman Javier Sesma said.
It is very rare for women to be gored since most of the runners are men. Javier Solano, a San Fermin expert working for national broadcaster TVE, said records showed only two other women had been injured by gorings in the recent history of the fiesta.
Four other runners were also hospitalised after sustaining cuts and bruises.
Other runners got tossed by the bulls or fell as they ran. The others injured were a 39-year-old man from California, a 23-year-old man from Madrid and two other men from Navarra, according to a statement from the regional government, which organises the festivities. None of those injuries were classified as serious, the statement said.
Miura bulls are renowned as Spain’s largest and fastest fighting bulls, and Sunday’s run was quick, taking 2 minutes, 16 seconds to cover 850 metres from stables just outside Pamplona’s medieval stone wall to the central bullring.
Despite the animals’ size and muscle-bound appearance, experts admire Miuras for their explosive acceleration, stamina and grace, characteristics that inspired legendary Italian car maker, the late Ferruccio Lamborghini, to name one of his iconic sports cars after the breed.
The San Fermin festival, which honors the patron saint of this northern city, dates back to the late 16th century and is also known for its all-night street parties where copious quantities of red wine from Navarra and Rioja are consumed and sprinkled around.
The festivities were made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises.