The seventh bull run at this year’s San Fermin bull running festival at Pamplona came close to disaster this morning, when a crush of runners at the entrance to the bull ring caused chaos. The 800m course through the streets of the Basque town of Pamplona ends in a tight stretch that opens out into the bull ring. It seems that one of the gates to the bull ring was partially closed, causing a crush of people at the entrance, unable to move forward and with the bulls behind them panic quickly followed. Trapped runners desperately tried to escape by climbing over the heads of the people in front of them, or by climbing into the grandstands.

In total 21 people were injured, including one 19 year old man who was pulled unconscious from the crush. 16 people have been hospitalised as a result of the injuries they received, with one described as being in a serious condition.

San Fermin is the most popular and most famous of all Spanish fiestas and is known throughout the world and visited each year by thousands of foreign tourists. This fame is down to the infamous “ Encierro” or the “Running of the Bulls”, a dangerous tradition where thousands of locals line the streets of Pamplona ’s old town and run the gauntlet will six half ton bulls over an 800 metre stretch. There is much more to the festival than just the “Encierro” and they include a lot of other ancient traditions as well as a fair dose of drinking and partying. The final bull run of this year’s festival is due to take place tomorrow, Sunday the 13th July at 8am.

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