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.
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.”
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.
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.