By Sinan Dogan
At least five people were killed and over 500 injured after a grandstand collapsed during a bullfight in Colombia, local authorities said Sunday.
A three-story section of the wooden stands lined with spectators fell during the traditional Corraleja bullfight festival held in the city of El Espinal located in the department of Tolima, some 146 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of the capital Bogota.
Amid the chaos following the incident, the bull escaped from the arena, causing panic in the city’s streets.
Shocking footage on social media showed the moment the stands, packed with hundreds of people, collapsed during the festival.
It is feared that the number of dead and injured will rise.
In a statement, the Tolima Civil Defense said there were women and children among the injured.
It was reported that some of the injured could not be treated due to crowded conditions at the hospital in the city and support was requested from health institutions in the region.
The El Espinal municipality in a statement said they were greatly saddened over the incident and called on people to remain calm.
"Aid organizations have taken action. Search and rescue efforts and evacuations continue," it added.
Outgoing Colombian President Ivan Duque on Twitter expressed concern for the victims of the "terrible tragedy" and called for a prompt investigation.
He also wished a fast recovery to the injured and expressed solidarity with the families of the victims.
Colombia's President-elect Gustavo Petro, who will take office in August, said in a tweet that he hopes that all the people affected by the collapse of the Plaza de El Espinal can come out of their wounds unscathed.
Recalling that the incident had already happened before in Sincelejo, he said: “I ask the mayors not to authorize more shows with the death of people or animals.”
*Writing and contributions by Jeyhun Aliyev from AnkaraAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.