Pamplona - A straggling half-ton fighting bull skewered two Britons and an American on Monday as it turned its horns on panicked runners in Spain's Pamplona bull run.
The bull lagged behind in the pack of six huge bulls and six steers that tore through the northern city's slippery cobbled streets, surrounded by crowds of thrill-seekers dressed in white with red neck scarves.
As the beasts thundered from a holding pen to the Pamplona arena, the 550kg black bull, called Fugado (Escapee), hung back and confronted the crowd.
Some people tried to keep it at bay with long sticks, but the bull stopped and then charged into a crowd of runners cowering by the side of the road, its horns lowered.
"My God," a man watching the scene could be heard crying out.
The bull repeatedly stopped and turned back to challenge people behind it, before finally being coaxed to finish the run, a centrepiece of the annual San Fermin festival.
Gored to death
Fugado skewered three runners with its horns, none seriously: A 20-year-old Briton in the right leg; a 29-year-old Briton in the left leg and a 39-year-old American in the right knee, regional health authorities said.
Another four people were injured: A 38-year-old American bruised his knee and ankle; a 30-year-old Spaniard dislocated his shoulder; and two 32-year-old Spaniards hurt their ankles.
The bulls took just three minutes and 37 seconds to cover the 850m course.
Last year 20 500 people took part in the festival's eight bull runs, nearly half of them coming from abroad, mostly the United States, Australia and Britain.
Three years ago a bull gored a 27-year-old Spaniard to death, piercing his neck, heart and lungs with its horns in front of hordes of tourists.
Pamplona officials expect about half a million people will flock to the city of 200 000 residents during the festival, which dates back to medieval times.