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Spain: Bullfighter survives terrifying face goring

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MADRID » Spanish bullfighter Juan Jose Padilla is recovering from a five-hour operation to repair his face after a terrifying goring in the northeastern city of Zaragoza, the hospital that treated him said Saturday.

Television images showed the moment when the bull’s left horn ripped into Padilla’s lower jaw to emerge beside his protruding eyeball as spectators screamed in horror.

Padilla, 39, suffered eye, bone, muscle and skin damage when the bull pinned him to the ground and gored him, the statement said.

TV footage also showed Padilla getting up from the ring, his face gushing blood, as the bull was distracted by bullring assistants.

"I can’t see, I can’t see anything," the matador shouted as he was rushed to emergency facilities at Zaragoza’s Misericordia bullring before being driven to the city’s Miguel Servet Hospital for surgery.

The bull, named Marques, weighed 508 kilograms (1,120 pounds) and was the second fighting beast Padilla had faced during the second day of the annual Virgen del Pilar festivities in Zaragoza.

Surgeons used titanium plates and mesh to reconstruct parts of Padilla’s facial bone structure and eye socket, doctors Simon Sanz and Nadal Cristobal said in a very detailed, signed statement.

A hospital spokesman told The Associated Press that surgeons had tried to reconstruct the bullfighter’s left ocular nerve.

Padilla was lucky the horn did not penetrate his brain, said Vicente Yesteras, one of Padilla’s retinue of bullring helpers.

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