Three people were rushed to hospital with gore injuries at the start of the notorious Running of the Bulls festival.
One, a 23-year-old American, was said have “serious injuries” after being gored in the left leg along a half-mile course in Pamplona, Spain.
The other gore victims were described as a 46-year-old Californian, who suffered a superficial neck wound, and a 40-year-old from the northern Spanish province of La Rioja also gored in the left leg.
An 18-year-old from the Basque city of San Sebastian and a 23-year-old from Barcelona were also taken to hospital with head wounds.
Although their condition is not said to be serious, hospital staff said one was rushed from the scene unconscious and only awoke in the ambulance.
The festival, called the San Fermin festival, is a 14th century event that involves running in front of a small group of cattle, typically six, that have been let loose on a course of a town’s streets.
TV footage showed an overweight man being lifted up in the air and dumped on his backside after being surprised from behind by one of the half-tonne animals as he jogged along the course.
One of the six fighting bulls which charged down the course to the bull ring, led by six steers, fell early on.
Another became separated from the rest of the pack towards the end and was last to be ushered into pens after completing the run, in two minutes 40 seconds and around half a minute after the other animals.
A spokesman for Pamplona’s Hospital Complex initially said they had received only one man who had been gored, in his left leg, confirming another two patients had been brought to the hospital with head injuries.
One of the people rushed to hospital with head injuries was taken away from the scene unconscious, but the hospital spokesman said he had come round in the ambulance.
The injury toll rose to five later in the morning – with three confirmed gore injuries.
It was not immediately clear if one of the gore victims was the overweight man in glasses caught unawares from behind, whose jeans were ripped at the top of his leg as he was lifted up in the air on the end of the bull’s horn and dumped on the cobbles.
This morning’s/yesterday morning’s (SUN) was the first of the eight bulls runs over the annual nine-day festival, known in Spain as San Fermin.
The festival kicked off yesterday/on Saturday at midday with the traditional ‘chupinazo’.
Revellers wearing traditional red and white were quickly soaked in sangria as the event got underway.
The eight morning runs, called encierros in Spanish, form the highlight of the festival.
Most revellers party all day – and often all night – with many getting little sleep and sometimes none at all before watching the 8am encierros behind the safety of wooden barriers.
Sixteen people have been killed at the annual festival, which finishes on July 14 and was made famous by 1926 Ernest Hemingway novel ‘The Sun Also Rises’, since records began in 1910.
The most recent death was in 2009 when 27-year-old Daniel Jimeno, from Madrid, was gored in the neck by a bull called Capuchino.
Several foreigners, from Australians to Americans through to Brits and Irish, are normally among the injured.
Between 200 and 300 are usually injured each year at the festival during the bull runs.