THOUSANDS participate in dangerous second bull run in Pamplona

Sunday, July 8th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PAMPLONA, Spain (AP) _ The second day of the annual San Fermin bull run turned more dangerous than usual Sunday, with bulls charging and tossing several runners in the overcrowded streets.

One of the six bulls broke loose from the pack and had runners and spectators screaming as the animals and the participants slipped on the cobblestone lining the 825-yard route to the bull ring.

Three Spanish men were slightly injured, said Rafa Cortijo, coordinator of the Red Cross. No one was gored Sunday.

The six-minute morning run, or ``encierros,'' draws thousands of people who attempt to run with a pack of fighting bulls and steers as they are herded from a corral to city's bull ring. Matadors later kill the animals in bullfights each day during the festival.

Thousands of people, mostly young men dressed in the region's traditional white shirt, red kerchief and sash, took part in the festival's first six-minute morning run Sunday. Six people were badly gored.

In the middle of the run, a chestnut-colored bull repeatedly tossed several people around the entrance to the bull ring and knocked one runner to the ground, ripping off his trouser leg. National television showed runners touching the bull, ignoring officials admonitions not to touch the beasts.

The fiesta, also known for its all-night street partying, dates back hundreds of years but became internationally famous following Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel ``The Sun Also Rises.''

It attracts tens of thousands of foreigners annually. Since 1924, when officials began keeping record, 13 runners have been killed and more than 200 injured by the bulls. An American was the last fatality, in 1995.