A public announcement called the bullfight festival to an end at 8pm in the Plaza de Las Ventas in Madrid after all three matadors — bullfighters who deliver the final, killing swordstroke to the already weakened animals — had been hospitalized.
The first bullfighter of the evening, David Mora, was caught on the horns of a bull named Deslío which flipped him upside down and tossed him around the ring.
Stunned spectators looked on as Mora was rag-dolled by the enraged bull, received two "very serious" injuries: a 30-cm gash to the thigh which was said to have "destroyed" his quadriceps muscles and damaged his femoral vein, plus a 10-cm-long wound to his upper arm.
See footage here, but but be warned. It's quite graphic.
The second bullfighter to take to the arena, Antonio Nazaré, was then caught in the leg by a different bull, causing "injuries to his right knee, with probably ligament damage" according to medical reports published in Spanish daily El País.
In an attempt to save the event from total disaster, a young bullfighter called Jiménez Fortes then came out wielding his sword only to leave in an ambulance shortly afterwards.
The same animal which had gored Nazaré also caught Fortes on its horns, inflicting two "very serious" wounds, one in the thigh and one in the hip.
Bullfights are usually one-sided affairs in which the outcome is never really in doubt. Tuesday's event marked the first occasion since 1979 that a bullfight durng the San Idiro festival has had to be cancelled due to bulls getting the best of the matadors.
The spectacle of bullfighting is highly controversial in Spain. Supporters say that it is part of the country's national cultural heritage while opponents claim that it is barbaric and cruel.
It has been banned by local authorities in both Catalonia and the Canary Islands.