Colombian bullfight stand collapse kills at least 6
By Genevieve Glatsky
At least six people were killed and more than a hundred injured Sunday when wooden spectator stands at a bullfighting festival collapsed, sending people running for safety.
The collapse took place in El Espinal, a city of 75,000 about 95 miles southwest of the capital, Bogotá, at a corraleja, a festival in which the public is invited to engage the bulls, even riding or taunting them. It is more informal than the traditional Spanish bullfight, and the bull is not killed in the end.
Among those killed Sunday was a 1-year-old child, according to local media, which also reported that the bull had escaped and was running loose in the streets.
One city council member called on nearby hospitals and ambulance services for assistance, with El Espinal’s own very quickly overwhelmed.
Colombia’s president-elect, Gustavo Petro, expressed his condolences Sunday afternoon, and noted that his country had experienced similar disasters before. In 1980, spectator stands collapsed in the northern city of Sincelejo, killing hundreds. Overcrowding and poor construction were later blamed.
“This has happened before, in Sincelejo,” Petro said on Twitter. “I ask the mayor’s office not to authorize any more spectacles with the death of people or animals.”
The practice has faced many legal challenges throughout the years and has been intermittently banned in parts of the country over concerns about cruelty to animals and danger to spectators.
In 1989, stands collapsed in Honda, a town outside Bogotá, killing eight and injuring 200. In 2006, a similar incident injured dozens in a town not far from El Espinal. And in 2013, a bull attacked spectators in the northern town of Arjona, killing two men.
Petro banned the practice in Bogotá when he served as mayor in 2012, but the issue has since been left in legal limbo by the country’s constitutional court.
Colombia’s departing president, Iván Duque, pledged support.
“We will ask for an investigation of the facts, speedy recovery to the injured and solidarity with the families of the victims,” he said.