American man paralysed by Pamplona bull

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The Independent Online

A man has been paralysed from the waist down after being injured in this year's Running of the Bulls in Spain.

Ray Ducharn, who is from New York, was injured while running in a svaquilla, in which thousands of locals and adrenalin-loving tourists pit themselves against the rampaging bulls through the narrow, twisting streets of Pamplona.

"He is in a very serious condition and could be paralysed for life," said Pello Pellejero, a Spanish government spokesman.

Six other people have been injured in the notorious festival so far, including another American, a Briton, and a New Zealander, who was gored through the leg. The ancient festival has become increasingly dangerous, mainly because of the amount of alcohol consumed by revellers the night before the main run.

Police have been ordered to stop anyone who looks drunk from participating but each year people are injured. Julio Bernavides Alvaran, a 65-year-old runner in this year's race, slept under a cash machine to get a good place for the run.

"Life disappears, and you feel your blood moving in your veins," he said. "Either that, or it's all the whisky."

A total of 15 people have been killed in the Running of the Bulls since its inception in 1924 - the race was immortalised by Ernest Hemingway in his novel The Sun Also Rises.