Colombia: Four dead and hundreds injured as bullfight stand collapses

·2-min read
A video shared on social claims to capture the moment the structure collapsed (Twitter)
A video shared on social claims to capture the moment the structure collapsed (Twitter)

At least four people have died and hundreds more have been injured after a stand collapsed during a bullfight in Colombia, according to local media reports.

Horrifying footage has emerged which appears to show the wooden stand lined with spectators give way at the stadium in El Espinal, Tolima, in the centre of the country, as people attempt to run away.

The BBC reports that authorities are fearing that the death toll will rise beyond the current tally of four fatalities.

In the wake of the collapse, a bull escaped from the stadium, stirring up panic in the municipality, according to the broadcaster.

The tragic incident occurred during a “corraleja” bullfighting festival, during which members of the public are invited to engage the bulls in the ring.

El Tiempo newspaper cites a local councillor as saying that the emergency services and hospitals were not able to handle the number of people injured following the collapse

“We need support from ambulances and neighbouring hospitals, many people are still unattended,” Iván Ferney Rojas said.

Alongside footage showing a bird’s eye view of the collapse, Colombia’s president elect Gustavo Petro called on local mayors to halt the authorisation of more shows that can lead to the death of people or animals.

Radio Nacional de Colombia has cited Major Luis Fernando Vélez, director of the civil defence department, as saying “there is talk of 500 wounded” following the incident.

He later told local Caracol television that no one remained trapped in the wreckage and that the several people reported as missing had been found.

“The emergency has been overcome at the site of the incident. More or less 70 people were injured,” Velez said.

Ambulances were sent from the nearby cities of Ibague and Melgar to help the injured, who have overwhelmed El Espinal’s hospital, Velez said.

He said did not know exactly what the stand was constructed with but it appeared to be wooden boards.

A statement from the Mayor’s Office of Espinal reads: “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.”