Teen run over by bull during Spanish festival

July 14, 1992|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Staff Writer

Tinna Petursson wanted to see the famous running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, but ended up getting a closer view than she bargained for when she fell and was stepped on by one of them.

Ms. Petursson, a college student from Arnold, was attending the San Fermin festival with friends yesterday when she decided to undertake the run made famous by Ernest Hemingway in "The Sun Also Rises."

She and her friends jumped into the cobblestone street at a place they thought was well ahead of a half-dozen bulls let loose on an 825-meter course leading to the town's bullring. But as they ran, the noise and confusion suddenly grew louder.

"People were shouting, 'El Toro! El Toro!' " Ms. Petursson said in a telephone interview from Avignon, France, where she is studying this summer.

Ms. Petursson doesn't speak Spanish, but she knew enough to realize the crowd was talking about a bull closing in on her. A man in front of Ms. Petursson tripped. As she tried to dodge him, a man behind her fell and knocked her down. Right behind him was a beige bull that came up to Ms. Petursson's shoulder.

Ms. Petursson caught a glimpse of the 2,000-pound animal's belly as it passed over her.

Terrified, she hauled herself under a fence and out of the path of the fleeing crowd. It wasn't until she was out of danger that she realized her ankle was injured.

She was taken to Virgen del Camino hospital, where she was treated for a bruised ankle and released. She was one of two people injured in the run yesterday and among 32 who have been gored, tripped, trampled or otherwise hurt in the first eight days of the nine-day festival.

Ms. Petursson's mother, Halla, said she learned what had happened to her daughter when a reporter called.

"I was absolutely shocked," Mrs. Petursson said.

Although her daughter had said she was going to attend the festival, she didn't say she intended to run. "She would never have run if she would have told me," said Mrs. Petursson, who was too relieved that her daughter was safe to be angry. "It was just a couple of crazy kids on vacation."

Ms. Petursson, a 19-year-old student at the University of Virginia, said she had read Hemingway's novel before attending the festival and was inspired to make the run, although she was one of only a handful of women on the course.

Last night she was nursing a swollen and blue ankle. Despite the pain, Ms. Petursson said she didn't regret running with the bulls.

"It was an incredible experience. I'm definitely glad I went," she said. "The story I have is worth the pain."

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