A man has nearly died while taking a selfie at the Pamplona bull run in Spain.
Jaime Alvarez, 46, of San Francisco, was one of three men gored at the controversial San Fermin festival in Spain’s north on Sunday.
A 23-year-old American and a 40-year-old Spanish man were both gored in the thigh. Two young Spanish men sustained head injuries.
The running of the bulls festival attracts more than one million spectators every year.
His wife and daughter had warned him about the festival but Mr Alvarez said the excitement and energy was too much to resist.
He said he ran most of the 850-metre course ahead of the bulls but by the time they entered the bullfighting plaza at the end, the pack of animals had caught up with him.
The 46-year-old climbed onto a fence for safety and only returned to the arena to shoot a short video when he thought that the danger had passed. He wanted “a 5-second video scene to say ‘Here I am, I did it.’”
That’s when the stray bull came at him running fast.
“The impact was unlike anything I’ve ever felt. It was like being hit by a car or a truck,” he said.
“It was scary.
“I was really out of it, really stunned, I didn’t know what direction to go.”
Mr Alvarez said the “joy and excitement” turned into fear for his life.
Someone grabbed Mr Alvarez by the arm and pushed through the crowds to get to paramedics, possibly saving the American’s life.
He realised how severely he’d been hurt during his encounter with the bull on Sunday morning when he touched his neck and his hand came away covered with blood.
Doctors told the dad the bull’s horn went deep into his neck and fractured part of a cheekbone.
That it didn’t hit the jugular vein or major arteries was described to the injured patient as “beyond miraculous.”
He spent two-and-a-half hours under the knife and is currently in a stable condition.
He could be out of hospital by Tuesday, local time.
Despite the run in with the bull, Mr Alvarez said he would return to enjoy the festival.
But next time he’ll just spectate.
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