HANOI, Vietnam – A traditional water buffalo fight in northern Vietnam was suspended after an animal attacked and killed its owner, in the first human fatality since the sport resumed after the Vietnam War.
The buffalo was killed and samples were taken to determine whether the animal had been given a stimulant to make it more aggressive, said Do Van Viet, a local official in the resort town of Do Son where the fight took place.
Traditional buffalo fighting was halted during the Vietnam War and resumed 27 years ago. Several buffalo have died in the fights that pit the animals against each other, but Saturday’s death was the first human fatality since the fights resumed, Viet said Monday.
The buffalo at first chased the owner of the other animal but failed to catch him and then turned on its owner, who died several hours later from multiple wounds, Viet said.
State media identified him as 46-year-old Dinh Xuan Huong, who trained fighting buffaloes for other owners for 10 years and this year had owned and trained a buffalo for himself for the first time.
Thirty-two buffaloes were competing in the qualification rounds Saturday for 16 final slots. Viet said two qualification fights and the finals to be held in September were suspended.
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