An American youth is recovering in the intensive-care unit of a hospital in western Salamanca after being savagely gored during a bullfighting festival celebrating Carnival, officials said Sunday.

Surgeon Enrique Crespo said he was called to operate on 20-year-old Benjamin Miller from Georgia, who had been gored and tossed by a large fighting bull on Saturday, the first day of nearby Ciudad Rodrigo's "Carnaval del Toro."

"It's not the worst injury I've seen, but it's the biggest goring wound I've ever had to operate on," Crespo told The Associated Press.

Miller underwent a three-hour operation to repair damage to thighs, sphincter and back muscles, Crespo said.

Town councilor Pedro Munoz said two other unidentified men had sustained less serious goring injuries during Saturday's events.

"One man from Scotland and a Spaniard from Salamanca were also injured," Munoz said.

Fiestas featuring bulls are common in Spain, and critics and aficionados alike agree that the events, which attract international audiences, are dangerous.

"Doctor Crespo is a world-renowned expert and we have a medically-equipped helicopter on standby every day of our annual fiesta," Munoz said.

He said somewhere between 45,000 and 50,000 people had been attracted over the weekend to this year's four-day fiesta, that includes afternoon bullfights and bull-running events.

Ciudad Rodrigo — population 14,000 — is a small cathedral city close to the Portuguese border that is a popular tourist destination. It retains its ancient defensive walls and was the site of key battles between Napoleon's army and British forces under the command of the Duke of Wellington from 1810 to 1812.