BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (TheBlaze/AP) — A surprise attack by a school of carnivorous fish injured about 70 people bathing in an Argentine river this week, including several children who lost parts of their fingers or toes.

piranha

A worker displays a piranha for sale in the Mercado Municipal on November 20, 2013 in Manaus, Brazil. A relative of this flesh-eating fish recently attacked dozens of swimmers in Argentina on Christmas day. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Director of lifeguards Federico Cornier said Thursday that thousands of bathers were cooling off from 100-degree temperatures in the Parana River in Rosario on Wednesday when bathers suddenly began complaining of bite marks on their hands and feet. He blamed the attack on palometas, “a type of piranha, big, voracious and with sharp teeth that can really bite.”

Argentina Fish Attack

A man was treated after he was bit by a palometa, a type of piranha, while wading in the Parana River in Rosario, Argentina, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013. (AP/La Capital, Silvina Salinas)

palometas_flickr

Palometas were identified as the type of piranha that attacked swimmers. (Photo credit: mentalblock_DMD/Flickr)

The Christmas Day attack was “very aggressive,” according to Gustavo Centurion, a medical official who spoke with AFP.

“There were some people that the fish literally had torn bits of flesh from [them,]” Centurion told AFP.

Argentina Fish Attack

Lifeguards director Federico Cornier said Thursday that thousands of bathers were cooling off from 100 degree temperatures in the Parana River on Wednesday when bathers suddenly came to them complaining of bite marks on their hands and feet. He blamed the attack on palometas, ”a type of piranha, big, voracious and with sharp teeth that can really bite.” (AP/La Capital, Silvina Salinas)

Paramedic Alberto Manino said some children he treated lost entire fingers or toes. He told the Todo Noticias channel that city beaches were closed, but it was so hot that within a half-hour, many people went back to the water.

Watch BBC’s report about the attack:

According to AFP, officials said the scale of the attack was unusual and was likely brought on by the unseasonably warm weather.