EL ESPINAL, Colombia – At least four people died and more than 300 were injured Sunday when wooden spectator stands collapsed at a Colombian bullfighting festival in El Espinal.
Update 2 p.m. EDT June 27: At least four people died Sunday when part of the wooden stands collapsed during a bullfighting festival in Colombia, according to The Associated Press. Initial reports indicated that at least six people had died.
Martha Palacios, health secretary for the state of Tolima, said at a news conference late Sunday that 322 people sought treatment from hospitals after the collapse, the AP reported. Among those who died was an 18-month-old baby, she said.
On Sunday night, four of those injured in the stand collapse remained hospitalized in intensive care and two others were recovering from surgery, according to the AP.
Original report: A 1-year-old child was among the fatalities, and the bull escaped the arena, running loose in the streets, The New York Times reported, citing local media.
Luis Fernando Velez, head of the regional civil defense agency, told The Washington Post that 50 volunteers from his agency worked to help transfer the most seriously injured victims to the town’s lone hospital, estimating the number of wounded to be closer to 300.
El Espinal, a small town of about 75,000 residents, is located about 95 miles southwest of capital city Bogotá, the newspaper reported.
According to the Times, the event was billed as a corraleja, a “festival in which the public is invited to engage the bulls, even riding or taunting them.” Unlike traditional Spanish bullfights, however, the bull is not killed following a corraleja, the newspaper reported.
Footage of the collapse quickly went viral on social media, showing dozens of spectators taunting a wounded bull when three levels of stands gave way, trapping hundreds of people underneath, the Post reported.
According to the newspaper, the makeshift bullring is erected each year as part of an annual June 29 Feast of Saint Peter celebration, and the practice is rooted in Colombia’s roots as a Spanish colony.