US criminal defence specialist recovering in hospital
A US lawyer has been gored in the neck having reportedly defied strict rules to snap a selfie during the annual Running of the Bulls festival in Pamplona, Spain.
Jaime Alvarez, 46, sustained the harrowing injury during the final stages of Sunday morning’s run, the first of the 2019 fiesta of San Fermin, according to media reports.
The San Francisco-based public defender had thought the coast was clear to shoot a selfie video of him running the 875-meter cobblestone course through the city to the bullring plaza. Reports say he ran most of the course ahead of the pack but upon reaching the home straight, a bull suddenly charged at him and pushed its horn deep into his neck, fracturing part of his cheekbone and narrowly missing major arteries and veins.
Alvarez, who completed a juris doctor at New York City’s Fordham University School of Law, is now recovering in hospital having undergone two and a half hours of surgery.
Commenting on his near-death experience, the criminal defence specialist told NBC 15:
“The joy and excitement of being in the bullring quickly turned into a scare, into real fear for my life. In the course of a few seconds, a million thoughts came to my mind, and that of dying was definitely one of them.”
Alvarez had attended the festival with his wife and daughter, and according to reports, ignored their wishes for him to not participate in the run. He told NBC 15 he was swept up in the atmosphere of the summertime festival, which is attended by up to one million tourists each year, and that the energy in the streets was too strong to resist.
The controversial festival which is condemned by animal activists takes place from July 6-14. It involves six cattle chasing hundreds of runners through the Spanish city (from their corral to the bullring) each day.
Taking photographs on the course is prohibited under official bull run rules. In 2014 a runner faced a $4,100 (£3,300) fine after snapping a selfie with the stampede.
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