Travel Tips

1 Man Killed, 11 Injured During Running of the Bulls in Pamplona

Locations in this article:  Barcelona, Spain Madrid, Spain

PamplonaPamplona’s popular bull-running festival turned out to be bloodier than usual this year, as one person was killed and at least 11 others seriously injured, prompting calls for the event to be limited or even banned.

The deceased man was identified as 27-year old Daniel Jimeno Romero of Madrid, who was gored in the neck and chest on Friday, the fourth day of the event.

Emergency medical personnel rushed him to a local hospital where he underwent surgery, but they were unable to save him.

Three other runners were critically injured in the running of the bulls 2009, including a 61-year-old American who suffered bleeding into his lung, a 20-year-old Brit whose thigh was punctured and a 20-year-old Argentine with unspecified injuries.

Approximately eight others suffered serious injuries but did not require hospitalization.

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The week-long running of the bulls dates back 400 years and was made famous by the Hemingway novel The Sun Also Rises. During the event, which is part of the annual San Fermin festival, bulls and steers are released into the streets of Pamplona’s old town and herded a half mile toward the town’s bullring. They later die there during bullfights.

More than 2,000 people from all over the world regularly attend the festival, and hundreds of thrill-seekers take their chances running alongside against the dozen or so bulls.

Pamplona San FerminesDespite the apparent danger, experts say the animals don’t normally become aggressive unless they become separate from the pack, which is what seems to have happened today. The bull that killed Romero was running separately from the others and began attacking both runners and onlookers.

Romero was the first person to die at Pamplona since 1995, when a 23-year-old American was gored to death. In 2003 a Spanish man spent months in a coma after being trampled on the head by a bull, and he later died.

Fifteen people have been killed since 1910, according to the event’s Web site, a number that seems surprisingly low considering the number of participants and the potential for disaster.

Still, various Spanish animal right groups have deemed the event “barbaric” and called for it to be banned, not just for the danger that it poses to the runners, but also to the bulls.

However, supporters point out that runners endanger themselves voluntarily, and claim that safety has been improved in recent years by banning flip-flops and cleaning and drying the road each morning to protect against slipping.

By Karen Elowitt for

Find out about more crazy travel experiences in our Adventures & Sports Travel section.

Related links: New York Times, CNN, Bloomberg, The Times (UK), The Guardian (UK)

Never seen the running of the bulls? Here’s some running of the bulls video of this year’s San Fermin festivities:

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