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Australians hurt in gory Running of the Bulls finale  

July 16, 2014 Destination Global, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Two Australians and a Spaniard have been gored in the final and longest bull run of this year’s San Fermin festival. The famous rite of passage for young travellers has reached an end – for this year, anyway.

One Australian man, 24, was gored in the thigh while a 26-year-old man was gored in the chest, abdomen and left thigh, the regional government of Navarra said in a statement. Both men are from New South Wales and one was on radio yesterday recounting his experience.

The renowned San Fermin Festival – Running of the Bulls – takes a toll each year, with an Australian woman gored last year. Australian authorities routinely issue warnings about taking part. The event injures between 200 and 300 people each year. Running-of-bulls

While most injuries result from falls and are not serious, some participants are gored or maimed and others break bones leaping off fountains. Since record-keeping at the event began in 1924, 15 people have been killed.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) warns that participating is dangerous and probably not covered by insurance.

DFAT gives a dramatic case study:

Brian, a university student, decided to take time off and travel around Europe. He thought running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, sounded fun. He fell when racing the bulls and was badly injured. He needed brain surgery and a long period of rehabilitation. Two months in the local hospital cost AUD 75,000. Brian came home by an air ambulance with a full medical team, which cost AUD 150,000. He did not have travel insurance and his family had no choice but to re-mortgage their house to meet the bills.

In an aspect that concerns travel agents, DFAT warns Australian travellers: “Your travel insurance may not cover you if you participate in high risk activities, such as running with the bulls. You should check the details of your insurance policy before deciding whether to participate.”

The warning advises that under Spanish law, local hospitals are obliged to provide medical attention to anyone regardless of nationality.

“However, Australia does not have a reciprocal health care agreement with Spain and the hospital will expect payment for services. Make sure you have funds for such circumstances or that your travel insurance will provide coverage, even if you have been injured while running with the bulls.

“The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller’s medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. These can amount to tens of thousands of dollars for which you and/or your family would be liable.”

The Running of the Bulls is considered by many young Australians to be a prime part of a European tour, a rite of passage on par with the Munich Beer Festival.

The event is highly popular in Spain as well and is broadcast live by two national television channels. It’s the highest profile event of the San Fermin festival, with runners dressed in the traditional costume of the festival, which consists of a white shirt and trousers with a red waistband and neckerchief.

In one hand, runners hold a rolled daily newspaper to draw the bulls’ attention from them if necessary. If you try to fight a bull with a rolled-up newspaper, however, you will lose.

Written by : Peter Needham

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