Collapse of bullfight stands in Colombia leaves four dead, dozens wounded | Colombia

Four people were killed and about 70 injured in Colombia on Sunday after spectator stands at a bullfight collapsed, provincial officials said.

The bull reportedly escaped from the plaza hosting the spectacle and was causing panic in the streets of Espinal, Tolima, a city of nearly 60,000 people about 145km (90 miles) south-west of Bogotá, the capital.

Videos posted on social media showed a section of the wood and bamboo stands toppling forward into the ring, where locals were participating in a bull-running event.

The injured included children, women and men, the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo said, citing municipal authorities. They did not immediately say what caused the collapse.

The bullring in Espinal, Tolima, after the collapse
The bullring in Espinal, Tolima, after the collapse. Photograph: Samuel Antonio Galindo Campos / AFP / Getty Images

“There are four dead at this moment – two women, a man and a minor,” Tolima’s provincial governor, Jose Ricardo Orozco, told local Blu Radio.

One of the women, who was 51, died at the plaza, El Tiempo reported. The three others reportedly died at a local hospital.

No one remained trapped in the wreckage, Maj Luis Fernando Velez, director of civil defense in the province, told local Caracol television. Several people reported as missing had been found.

The bullfight was part of a cultural festival honoring Saints Peter and Paul, who were apostles of Jesus Christ and Christian martyrs. A city council member, Ivan Ferney Rojas, issued a statement saying the local hospital had been overrun and asking for assistance from surrounding areas to treat the injured.

“We need help from neighboring hospitals and ambulances,” he said. “There’s still a lot of people who have not been treated.”

Espinal’s City Hall added in a separate statement that the staff there “profoundly lamented what had happened at the bullfight plaza” but urged residents and visitors to remain calm.

Colombia’s president-elect, Gustavo Petro, said on Twitter that a similar collapse had happened in another part of the county before. There had been nine injured in bull-running activities on Saturday at the doomed plaza in Espinal.

Petro, a former member of an urban guerrilla group and Colombia’s first leftist to be elected president, also said he urged local governments “to not authorize any more spectacles involving the deaths of people or animals”.

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