Five dead and at least 500 people injured as stand collapses during bullfight

At least five people have been killed, and hundreds more injured after a packed stadium collapsed during a bullfight in El Espinal, Colombia with fears the count may rise

A bullfight has ended in tragedy after a stand collapsed has resulted in 500 people being injured and five killed in Colombia, according to local reports.
There are fears that the death toll will rise further as many spectators remain unaccounted for.

The incident occurred at an improvised stadium in El Espinal in Tolima during the annual San Juan and San Pedro festivities.

Tolima's governor, Ricardo Orozco, told local radio that at least four people had been killed, including two women, a man and a child and a further 60 have been wounded.

The incident happened during a "corraleja" – a traditional event where members of the public are encouraged to jump into the ring to run alongside the bulls.

Shocking video footage from the stadium shows the moment that the stands – which were packed with hundreds of spectators – slowly tipped forward before disintegrating in the arena.

During the this afternoon's chaos, nine people who jumped in the ring with the bull were hurt, including six who were taken to hospital with serious injuries, according local news reports.

In the wake of this afternoon's tragedy Iván Duque Márquez, the president of Colombia, has urged local mayors to cancel similar events.

Mr Márquez tweeted: "I hope that all the people affected by the collapse of the Plaza de El Espinal can recover from their wounds unscathed.

"This had already happened before in Sincelejo. I ask the mayors not to authorise more shows with the death of people or animals."

A statement from the Espinal Mayor's Office read: "We deeply regret what happened in the bullring.

"We want to call for calm to the entire community.

"Once the emergency became known, the relief agencies acted immediately, achieving the evacuation of the injured for primary care at the San Rafael Hospital in the municipality."

Major Luis Fernando Vélez, director of Civil Defense in Tolima told local news site Infobae: "There is a patient with serious injuries, he was taken to the hospital in critical condition."

Municipal government secretary Ever Sarmiento added: "Unfortunately, people who irresponsibly get into the Corralejo cannot be controlled, but we are guaranteeing safety and that the community has a healthy fun at the patron saint festivities."

Several bulls reportedly escaped into the town of San Pedro as the catastrophe unfolded.

Local councillor Iván Ferney Rojas told local newspaper El Teimpo that the town's emergency services and hospitals were not equipped to cope with the number of casualties.

"We need support from ambulances and neighbouring hospitals, many people are still unattended," Mr Rojas is quoted as saying.

Local politician Fernando David Niño Mendoza has pleaded that similar events planned in Bayunca, in Cartagena, be called off.

“I ask the mayor of Cartagena to attend to this urgent call," he said, " since nothing justifies the animal abuse to which the bulls are subjected in this kind of events".

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