Colombian bullring collapse: Four killed, hundreds injured

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A Colombian Civil Defense worker inspects the debris of some stands that collapsed in a bullring during the celebrations of the San Pedro festivities, in El Espinal, Colombia June 26, 2022. REUTERS/Cristian Parra NO RESLAES. NO ARCHIVES - REUTERS/Cristian Parra
A Colombian Civil Defense worker inspects the debris of some stands that collapsed in a bullring during the celebrations of the San Pedro festivities, in El Espinal, Colombia June 26, 2022. REUTERS/Cristian Parra NO RESLAES. NO ARCHIVES - REUTERS/Cristian Parra

At least four people have been killed and hundreds more injured after a ramshackle stand collapsed at a bullfight in El Espinal, Colombia.

Spectators fled in panic as the flimsy wooden framework toppled.

Emergency crews rushed to the scene to try to rescue people trapped beneath the wreckage.

Jose Ricardo Orozco, the local governor, said that two women, a man and a child are known to have died.

Residents gather near the rubble of a grandstand after it collapsed in a bullring during the celebrations of the San Pedro festivities, in El Espinal, Colombia June 26, 2022. REUTERS/Cristian Parra NO RESLAES. NO ARCHIVES - REUTERS/Cristian Parra
Residents gather near the rubble of a grandstand after it collapsed in a bullring during the celebrations of the San Pedro festivities, in El Espinal, Colombia June 26, 2022. REUTERS/Cristian Parra NO RESLAES. NO ARCHIVES - REUTERS/Cristian Parra

In footage broadcast online, a full three-story section of wooden stands filled with spectators can be seen collapsing, throwing dozens of people to the ground.

Another video taken by someone at the scene showed people trying to escape from the stands while a bull continues to roam in the arena.

According to the local authorities’ men, women and children were all injured in the disaster and there are fears the death toll could climb further.

The reasons for the stand’s collapse were unclear.

In this image taken from video, spectators agglomerate around the wooden stands that collapsed during a bullfight in El Espinal, Tolima state, Colombia, Sunday, June 26, 2022. According to authorities, the collapse sent spectators plunging to the ground and killing several and injuring hundreds. (AP Video) - Ap Video
In this image taken from video, spectators agglomerate around the wooden stands that collapsed during a bullfight in El Espinal, Tolima state, Colombia, Sunday, June 26, 2022. According to authorities, the collapse sent spectators plunging to the ground and killing several and injuring hundreds. (AP Video) - Ap Video

According to local reports, the bull fled the arena into the streets of Espinal, causing panic in a town of nearly 77,000 people, 64 miles southwest of the capital, Bogotá.

Local authorities appealed for calm, to allow the emergency services to evacuate those who had been injured.

Colombia's outgoing President Ivan Duque expressed his solidarity with the families of those killed and hurt.

"We will request an investigation of the facts about what happened," he said.

In this image taken from video, spectators are sent plunging to the ground as part of a wooden stand collapses during a bullfight, Sunday, June 26, 2022, at a stadium in the city of El Espinal in Tolima state, central Colombia. (AP Video) - AP Video
In this image taken from video, spectators are sent plunging to the ground as part of a wooden stand collapses during a bullfight, Sunday, June 26, 2022, at a stadium in the city of El Espinal in Tolima state, central Colombia. (AP Video) - AP Video

The event, which attracted hundreds of people, was part of the San Pedro Festival.

It entailed locals trying their luck in the bullring in so-called "corralejas", in which residents enter the arena to confront the bull.

The event has attracted criticism both for the danger it posed to participants and the cruelty inflicted on the bull.

Mr Orozco said the authorities would consider banning corralejas in future.

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