WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- San Francisco resident Jaime Alvarez joined the San Fermin Festival — an annual event in Pamplona, Spain that involves running in front of a group of bulls —but he was gored in the neck and was taken to a hospital for surgery.
- Despite his near-death experience, Alvarez said he planning to come back to the festival next year.
- The American lawyer said he was injured due to his desire to have a selfie as a souvenir from running with the bulls.
Jaime Alvarez, 46, from San Francisco, California almost died when a bull jumped on him and gored his neck during this year’s San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, Spain—which Ernest Hemingway made immortal by his “Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises,” his first successful novel.
“The joy and the excitement of being in the bullring quickly turned into a scare, into real fear for my life,” Alvarez said on Monday while recovering at a regional hospital.
The wound in his neck is deep and his cheekbone was fractured, the doctors said. It was “beyond miraculous” that neither the jugular vein nor any major arteries were hit.
Alvarez, who works as a public defender in Santa Clara County, California, realized how severe his neck was when he tried to touch it and his hand was covered in blood.
“In the course of a few seconds, a million thoughts came to my mind, and that of dying was definitely one of them,” the American lawyer said.
They passed by Pamplona and stopped to check out the famous festival while they were on their way to a different city for their son’s soccer tournament.
His daughter and wife have already cautioned him from joining others to race with the bulls. But the energy of the festival was too strong to resist, says Alvarez.
The bulls running, 9 days of unlimited partying, brought about 1 million spectators from all over the world to the city every year. Many of them want to experience the festival the way Hemingway fondly described it in his novel.
Alvarez ran ahead of the bulls but when they entered the bullfighting plaza, the animals caught up with him. He climbed a fence for safety in order to shoot a video of himself after successfully doing the race. But that’s when a stray bull came running fast at him.
“The impact was unlike anything I’ve ever felt. It was like being hit by a car or a truck,” he said. “It was scary.”
“I was really out of it, really stunned, I didn’t know what direction to go,” he recalled.
Thankfully somebody grabbed him and saved him.
His surgery on Sunday took 2.5 hours but he is recovering fast and could be discharged after a couple of days. He promised to return to San Fermin festival as a spectator and no longer a bull racer.
Source: USA Today