Warning: Graphic images below.
An Adelaide mechanic who was gored in Spain’s infamous running of the bulls in Pamplona is recovering from surgery and had a lucky escape from serious damage to his vital organs.
But he is still in shock from the brutal attack, local media reported.
Jason Gilbert, 26, from Adelaide Hills, was cornered then lunged at by Olivito, 595kg bull, after it became separated from the herd when it fell turning a corner.
He was seriously injured in the chest, abdomen and leg, was treated on the scene then taken to the local hospital.
Mr Guilbert told the Noticias de Navarra that he was two weeks into a six week tour of Europe, arriving in Pamplona from San Sebastian with three friends.
He dropped off his luggage on Sunday in a flat he found on a ‘couchsurfing’ website then toured the town to check out the festival of San Fermin.
After watching a bullfight and talking to a local, he decided to take part in the final run of the festival, he told the Daily Mail.
“(The local) told me about the number of people who take part and the number of people who get injured every year and I thought ‘why not?’,” he said.
“I grew up in a regional town and have seen a lot of cattle so I know how powerful bulls are. What shocked me about the bull that gored me was just how aggressive it was.”
He didn’t see the bull fall but realised he was in trouble when it trapped him against the wall, he told the Mail.
“I felt like I was running for my life as it chased after me the first time it gored me. I was in pain and I knew it was bad when I saw my leg was wide open. It was a feeling of sheer and utter panic being chased by the bull.
“After that I really just remember being pulled through the fence by people on the other side. It probably saved my life. Seeing the paramedics and knowing I was out of immediate danger was a feeling of tremendous relief.”
The night before Mr Gilbert had watched the World Cup final with his travelling companions in the apartment.
He then went to bed – unlike many other bull runners, who sometimes stay up all night drinking before the 8am charge through the town’s narrow streets.
“I went to sleep because the next day I wanted to be able to do the bull run,” he told the Noticias.
But despite being fresher than many of the runners around him, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when Olivito fell.
His friends, who had spent an agonising four hours looking for him before they saw footage of the attack on the internet, arrived at the hospital at noon on Monday, “with faces of worry and despair”, the paper reported.
However they were happy to discover their friend was not at death’s door.
“The injuries are not as severe as it first looked on TV,” one told the Noticias. “But the video of the goring is alarming.”
From his hospital bed the next day Mr Gilbert thanked the doctors and on-the-spot paramedics who had looked after him immediately after the goring and at Virgen del Camino hospital.
“I am very happy with their treatment, both in the moments after the bull gored me and in the hospital,” he said.
He underwent several hours of surgery, for injuries that festival officials described as “three gorings in the thorax, abdomen and left thigh, pneumothorax (lung collapse) and torn pleura (lung tissue)”.
“The operation went well,” Mr Gilbert told the Noticias.
However he was still psychologically affected by the goring, the paper said.
“It’s the first time I’ve run and I can tell you now it will be the last,” he told the Mail.
He had intended to head onwards to Bordeaux but will now wait until his release before deciding whether to continue his holiday.
Doctors said he would likely remain in hospital for a week. He had been lucky because the horn that entered his chest came close to damaging his neck.
On Tuesday doctors updated Mr Gilbert’s status to ‘stable’.
A spokeswoman from DFAT said Australia was “providing consular assistance to a 25-year-old Australian man injured in Spain”.
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