Spain shrugged off its economic woes Tuesday with tens of thousands of Spaniards and foreigners jamming a historic city plaza to launch the famed San Fermin bull-running festival.
Two people were gored Thursday during a tense and dangerous second running of the bulls at Spain's famed San Fermin fiesta, and at least five other people were hospitalized after falling or being trampled by the hulking beasts, officials said.
Thousands took part in the dash to keep ahead of six fighting bulls and six bell-tinkling steers tasked with keeping the beasts together along the 930-yard course from a holding pen to the northern town's bullring.
The run lasted just under four minutes and produced panic when some bulls separated from the pack. One stopped just before entering the bullring and paced in circles threateningly while staring at the runners.
Television images showed the first runner being gored in the chest and hurled like a rag doll to the cobblestones of one of the narrow streets where the bull run takes place in Pamplona's historical old quarter. He remained on the ground dazed until he was taken away by rescue workers.
One man sustained serious injuries after being gored in the thorax, while a second man was gored in the left leg but was in better condition, said Fernando Boneta, a doctor at Navarra Hospital.
The more seriously injured man was a 22-year-old Spaniard, while the other goring victim was a 43-year old man from Dublin, authorities said. The men were identified only by their initials.
Five more people were hospitalized in Pamplona for less serious injuries, mostly broken bones and bruises sustained in falls as they ran, though the images clearly showed other people being trampled. They included a 49-year-old American, a 33-year-old Israeli and three Spaniards, the Navarra regional government said.
Thursday's gorings were the first for the series of eight bull runs held during the nine-day street festival that also features around-the-clock drinking that attracts tens of thousands of Spaniards and foreigners.
Cody Harrington, 22, was amazed at the size of the 1,100-pound bulls as he ran alongside them for the first time.
"They were about up to my shoulders, and it was intense," the university student from Lake Tahoe, California said. "Once I saw them running right next to me I got to the side and it was shocking how big they were."
His 62-year-old father ran as well.
"It was a rush, definitely an adrenaline rush, the street is so narrow, you're right next to them and then they're gone like a shooting star," said Jack Harrington, a dentist on a tour of Europe with his wife, son and two daughters.
An 18-year-old Australian who sustained three fractured vertebrae in the first race Wednesday remained hospitalized Thursday in serious condition, according to the El Diario de Navarra newspaper.
He was identified by the newspaper as Nicholas Ward of Melbourne, and the young man's father, Howard, told the newspaper his son was expected to remain hospitalized for two weeks.
An American was also injured Wednesday in another event during the San Fermin party in which calves are released into a bullring to be taunted by young men.
The unidentified 22-year-old man sustained a ripped scrotum from a horn injury, El Diario de Navarra said. He received a stitch at the bullring from emergency workers and was hospitalized, according to the newspaper, which did not list his hometown.
While gorings from the adult bulls with their huge horns are more likely to be fatal or cause serious injuries, the calves are also dangerous because they are more frisky, moving around the ring rapidly.
A spokeswoman for the hospital where the Australian and the American were taken said Thursday that no one was immediately available to provide an update on their conditions or more details.
The runs are broadcast live on Spanish television and the bulls that run each morning are killed in the evening in the bullring, their meat served up in Pamplona's restaurants.
Dozens of people are injured in the runs each year. Gorings produce the most dramatic injuries and generate extensive comment and analysis in Spain's media, though most runners who end up hurt fall or are trampled. Last year's festival saw the first fatal goring in nearly 15 years.
In Catalonia, meanwhile, a legal advisory body said the Spanish region's parliament can go ahead with a planned vote this month on banning bullfighting.
The body has ruled that any prohibition voted on by the parliament would not violate Spain or Catalonia's charters. The proposed ban is part of an animal rights bill.
The Catalan parliament said it will be voted on July 28. If approved, Catalonia would become the second Spanish region to ban bullfighting after the Canary Islands did so in 1991.