MADRID – MADRID (AP) — One of Spain's top matadors was seriously injured in Mexico when a 1,100-pound (500-kilogram) bull gored him in the groin and hoisted him into the air, causing major blood loss, his manager said Sunday.
Jose Tomas lost up to eight liters (17 pints) of blood after being gored Saturday by a beast named Navegante in the Mexican city of Aguascalientes.
The bull's horn penetrated 4 inches (10 centimeters) into Tomas' groin and punctured a vein and an artery, manager Salvador Boix told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser from Aguascalientes.
Tomas, one of Spain's most popular matadors, has a relatively rare blood type — A- — and bled so profusely that bullring officials appealed over the arena loudspeakers for compatible donors to come forward for transfusions, Boix said.
Bullring doctors operated on the 34-year-old Tomas immediately to stabilize him, and he underwent more surgery later at a hospital for more than three hours.
"Now he has new blood and is in intensive care, waiting to see how things evolve," Boix said, adding that Tomas is not conscious.
Mexican television footage aired on the Web site of the Spanish newspaper El Mundo shows Tomas working the animal with his cape when the bull makes a quick turn toward the matador and catches him in the groin, lifting him into the air for a few seconds and shaking its head with Tomas dangling from its sharp left horn.
Once on the ground, Tomas rolled away and held his hands up as if to say he was OK, but a large, dark red stain was already spreading through his glittering gold suit.
The newspaper El Pais said Tomas' injury was so serious that the bullring doctors who first operated on him did not even take time to anesthetize him.
Tomas is known for a daring bullfighting style in which he gets particularly close to the bull. His full name is Jose Tomas Roman Martin, but he goes by just Jose Tomas.
In Spain, he has been something of an enigma: in 2002, at the peak of his career, Tomas suddenly retired without saying why.
Tomas returned to the ring in 2007 to tremendous fanfare — he told one interviewer "living without bullfighting is not living" — and since then had suffered a number of serious gorings in Spain.
Eds: RECASTS, UPDATES throughout with details, quote; CORRECTS blood type to A- sted A+.