BOGOTA: Part of the wooden stands collapsed during a bullfight in central Colombia Sunday, sending spectators plunging to the ground and killing at least four people and injuring hundreds, authorities said.
The disaster took place in a stadium in the city of El Espinal in Tolima state during a traditional event called "Corralejo" in which members of the public enter the ring to engage the bulls. Videos taken during the bullfight show a multi-story section of the stands collapsing as people screamed.
"We have activated the hospital network in Tolima," Tolima Gov. José Ricardo Orozco told local Blu Radio. "Four people have died, as of this moment: two women, a man and a minor." Mayor Juan Carlos Tamayo said 800 spectators were seated in the sections that collapsed.
Late Sunday, Tolima health secretary Martha Palacios said in a press conference that 322 people had gone to local public and private hospitals after the collapse seeking treatment. Palacio said the minor who had died was an 18-month-old baby.
Besides the four dead, another four people were in intensive care and two others recovering from surgery.
Orozco said he had asked for the traditional "Corralejo" to be suspended in Tolima earlier Sunday but this one was held anyway.
President-elect Gustavo Petro urged local officials to ban such events, noting that it was not the first time an incident like this had taken place.
"I ask mayors not to allow more events involving the death of people or animals," he said. Current President Iván Duque on Twitter announced an investigation of the disaster. "We lament the terrible tragedy registered in El Espinal, Tolima, during the festivals of San Pedro and San Juan, with the collapse of the stands during a Corralejo. We will call for an investigation."