Images of the collapse quickly went viral on social media. It showed dozens of people teasing and playing with an injured bull during a popular event known as the Corraleja.. Suddenly, three levels of tribune gave way, by trapping hundreds of men, women and children under it. As people screamed, some jumped out of their seats and rushed to help, trying to clear wood and other debris.
Hector Ortiz, 64, couldn’t believe the sight. A woman next to him said, “That balcony is about to collapse!” yell. and watched as eight episodes began to collapse one after another like dominoes.
“After the first balcony collapsed, he pulled the next one, and so on,” Ortiz told The Washington Post. “It was the gate through which the bulls passed that stopped the collapse. Otherwise we would be talking about a much greater tragedy.”
Every year, the mayor’s office and private parties in El Espinal organize events to celebrate the Feast of St. Peter on 29 June. The bullring is erected for a show that emerged on the Caribbean coast when Colombia was a Spanish colony. Unlike traditional Spanish bullfighting, bulls are not normally killed in a corraleja., and spectators are invited to run around while the animal is still in the ring.
In towns like El Espinal, the event has become a popular show.
Its arena was built with gadua bamboo and many levels were filled with spectators. “A gadua bamboo structure is highly unstable,” said Luis Fernando Velez, head of the regional civil defense agency. “The organizers should have foreseen that this could happen,” he said.
Velez said that 50 volunteers from the civil defense were working to transport the most seriously injured of the 322 injured spectators from the arena to the town’s only hospital. Firefighters and police also helped. The local health system has sent a “red alert” to the community.
Colombian President Iván Duque expressed concern for the victims on Twitter and called for an immediate investigation.
Among the dead was a 14-month-old baby. More than two dozen children were injured and others were missing because they were with their parents in the bullfighting arena when the structure collapsed, Velez said. According to Mayor Juan Carlos Tamayo Salas, there were an estimated 800 people in the eight booths that attended.
The event reminded of a similar event corralejas Disaster in the Caribbean town of Sincelejo. More than 500 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured when the makeshift stand there collapsed in 1980.
“This has happened before in Sincelejo” President-elect Gustavo Petro tweeted, who will take office in August. “I ask local authorities not to allow any further use of eyeglasses in connection with the death of people or animals,” he said.
Petro sparked outrage when, as mayor of Bogota, he banned bullfights. On Sunday, he looked ready to continue the same war at the national level.
Witnessing the disaster on Sunday, Ortiz said: “I think this is the end for corralejas In El Espinal.”
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