Sunday’s fiesta brava in Colombia ended in tragedy when a makeshift stadium started to collapse during a bullfight, sending hundreds of spectators plummeting to the ground. Authorities reported at least four fatalities, and subsequent accounts of the number of people injured ranged significantly, between dozens and hundreds.
Four people were killed and hundreds injured when several layers of packed stands in a makeshift bullring fell during a bullfight in central Colombia on Sunday. These numbers may rise in the hours to come as horrified spectators were buried by the debris.
El Espinal, a little village about 95 miles southwest of Bogotá, was the scene of the tragedy.
Social media users instantly shared videos of the collapse. During a well-known event called Corralejo, it displayed scores of people taunting and amusing themselves with an injured bull. A sudden collapse of three levels of stands buried hundreds of adults, children, and infants. Some people leaped from their chairs in response to the screams and raced to offer assistance by attempting to push wood and other wreckage aside.
The scene shocked 64-year-old Hector Ortiz. That bridge is about to collapse, a woman standing next to him yelled. and he saw eight segments start to collapse one after another, falling like dominoes.
According to Ortiz, “once the first balcony fell, it dragged the next one, and so on, and so forth.” “The gate that the bulls pass through is what prevented the collapse. Otherwise, we’d be discussing a lot worse catastrophe.
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The El Espinal mayor’s office and individual parties plan celebrations for the Feast of Saint Peter on June 29 every year.
The occasion has developed into a well-liked show in cities like El Espinal.
The numerous floors of the bullring, which was constructed from bamboo, were crowded with onlookers. According to Luis Fernando Velez, director of the local civil defense organization, bamboo construction is fairly unstable. “Organizers need to have anticipated this possibility.”
The most critically hurt of the 322 injured spectators were being transported from the bullring to the town’s only hospital by 50 civil defense volunteers, according to Velez. Police and firefighters were very helpful. The community received a “red alert” from the neighborhood health system.
Iván Duque, the president of Colombia, tweeted his sympathy for the victims and urged a speedy inquiry.
The unexpected collapse of the three-tiered stadium was caught live on local television and by spectators, who hurried to share clips on social media. As the rickety stands collapse, hurling some spectators forcefully to the ground and trapping others beneath wooden slats, it looks that everyone, including numerous matadors, is shouting and scurrying to escape.
A precise number of individuals hurt or dead has not yet been disclosed by local officials in El Espinal, a city southwest of Bogotá, the capital of Colombia. The country’s main daily reported that up to 500 people were initially thought injured, however other publications later lowered the number down to as few as 30.
262 individuals had reportedly “been impacted” by the fall by Sunday night, according to the newspaper El Tiempo.
As per Colombian news outlet Red+ Noticias, Tolima’s governor, Ricardo Orozco, said on a radio show shortly after the tragedy that at least one child had been identified as one of the victims.
Juan Carlos Tamayo Salas, the mayor of El Espinal, reported that officials had raced to the site and had taken wounded spectators to nearby hospitals.
First responders and medical facilities have been overburdened by the disaster, a local councilor told El Tiempo. The publication cited him as stating, “We need assistance from ambulances and nearby hospitals, many individuals are still ignored.”
In the following mayhem, at least one bull also broke free from the stadium, sending nearby citizens running for protection as it rushed through the streets. Whether or if authorities were able to recapture the animal was unclear at the time.
With Colombians celebrating the feast days of St. John the Baptist, St. Peter, and St. Paul after having just observed Sacred Heart, it appears that the bullfight had been planned as a typical Corralejo event, one of the celebrations of a holiday period.
Among the fatalities was a baby who was 14 months old. When the bullring’s structure collapsed, more than two dozen kids who were with their parents inside were hurt or gone, according to Velez. According to Mayor Juan Carlos Tamayo Salas, the eight stands in question could accommodate 800 people.
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The incident brought to mind the Sincelejo Corralejo accident in the Caribbean. When the temporary stands there crumbled in 1980, more than 500 people perished and more than 2,000 were injured.
The bulls at the arena had jumped into the corral and injured many persons, at least one of whom was in severe condition, according to Tolima’s head of civil defense, who spoke to local media. Given that spectators are typically allowed to communicate directly with the bulls during a Corralejo, it was unclear if those injuries had happened prior to or after the fall.
Gustavo Petro, the incoming president of Colombia, responded to the disaster via Twitter and hoped for those injured a speedy recovery. Petro begged local government representatives not to approve additional bull celebrations, citing a notorious and comparable occurrence in Sincelejo in 1980 that resulted in more than 220 fatalities and 500 injuries.
Although uncommon, stadium disasters do occasionally occur in rural areas of Colombia. At least 80 people were hurt when a packed arena in Planadas collapsed during a bullfight in 2008. According to a Mirror article from the time, an injured spectator claimed that organizers had purposefully crammed the facility above its maximum.
An investigation into the incident on Sunday has been opened by local authorities.