Matador in hospital after horrific goring
Spanish matador Julio Aparicio was recovering in hospital on Saturday after suffering a horrific goring during a bullfight in Madrid.
The half-ton bull caught the torero under his chin after he lost his footing and stumbled while executing a pass with his red cape at the Spanish capital's packed bullring.
The horn of the animal tore into the bullfighter's throat and emerged through his mouth in a dramatic goring on Friday evening that had the crowd screaming in horror.
The pink-stockinged, sequined matador was lifted into the air and then dropped to the sand. The bull backed away after it was distracted by fellow matadors who dashed to the rescue.
The 41-year-old struggled to his feet, staggered a few yards, spluttering blood and was then carried from the ring and into the medical ward at the Las Ventas arena.
He later underwent six hours of surgery at the October 12 hospital in Madrid where doctors performed an emergency tracheotomy and worked to reconstruct his throat, jaw, tongue and roof of the mouth.
"He remains in the intensive care unit of the hospital, has regained consciousness and his vital signs are stable," reported a spokesman from the hospital.
"There were no surgical complications" said the bullfighter's father, also called Julio Aparicio.
"It was a serious goring. Almost his entire mouth was destroyed. It's too early to talk of recovery, we must wait and see."
There were fears for his life in the first anxious hours after the goring.
The injured man comes from a famous bullfighting family - his father is also a matador - and he was one of the big draws at the San Isidro bullfighting festival that takes place each May in Madrid.
The evening bullfights are watched by sell-out crowds at the 25,000 seat Las Ventas bullring and are broadcast live on cable television. Six animals are killed in each bullfight.
Many of Spain's newspapers carried the photograph of the exact moment of the goring, sparking arguments on their message boards. Some viewers thought the image too shocking. Others used it as a chance to call for a ban on bullfighting altogether.