Near-Death Bull Run Selfie

A California man made headlines for bull run selfie gone horribly wrong when he was almost killed during the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain this summer. Jaime Alvarez, who practices law in San Francisco, had completed the 875-meter run unscathed and decided to make a quick selfie video as a keepsake.

Near-Death Bull Run Selfie

That decision proved almost fatal for the 46-year old Alvarez, who was brutally gored by a bull that seemingly came out of nowhere. The bull’s horn plunged into the right side of the American’s neck, fracturing part of his cheekbone. Alvarez didn’t realize the severity of his wounds until he felt a gush of blood running down his face.

Alvarez was whisked away to the local hospital, where he underwent a two-hour surgery. His injuries were “beyond miraculous,” said surgeons who treated him. Just a centimeter in either direction and the bull’s horn could have pierced a major artery or his jugular vein.

Alvarez later told media that the impact of the horn was unlike anything he’d ever experienced, akin to being hit by a car or a truck. “The joy and excitement of being in the bullring quickly turned into a scare, into real fear for my life,” he told the Associated Press, adding “In the course of a few seconds, a million thoughts came to my mind, and that of dying was definitely one of them.”

He said that his wife and daughter, knowing full well about bull run dangers, had tried to dissuade him from participating in the hair-raising event to no avail.

Pamplona banned photos, video, and selfies

Given the popularity of cell phones and selfies, Pamplona has passed laws making it illegal to take photos or video during the morning bull runs. Participants are even banned from holding a recording device. Those who violate these regulations during the San Fermin Festival can face fines of more than $4,000.

After the news of the bull run selfie went viral, Alvarez said he was trying to record a 5-second video to show he had completed the world-famous encierro when a lone bull veered straight for him. A good Samaritan got him to the paramedics, possibly saving his life. Most Running of the Bull deaths are caused by gorings, and since record-keeping began in 1910, there have been 16 fatalities.