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Piranha attack in Argentina reportedly leaves at least 70 injured


Dec. 25, 2013: A man is treated after he was bit by a palometa, a type of piranha, while wading in the Parana River in Rosario, Argentina. 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)

A piranha feeding frenzy in Argentina reportedly has left at least 70 people injured, including seven children who lost parts of their fingers and toes.

The attack took place on Christmas morning off a beach in the Parana River, near the city of Rosario.

Gustavo Centurion, a medical official, said the attack was “very aggressive,” according to Sky News. At least 70 people were injured, The Associated Press reports.

Local newspaper La Capital reported that a 7-year-old girl had part of her finger amputated after suffering bites from the fish, which were described as a piranha cousin called palometas.

Other swimmers suffered cuts to their ankles, fingers and hands, and a boy was left with an open fracture, The Telegraph reports. Swimmers were seen racing out of the water, bleeding from wounds, while the parents of children in the water rushed in to bring them to safety.

People who continued to swim at the beach despite the danger were forced out by police, according to The Telegraph.

But Paramedic Alberto Manino told the Todo Noticias channel that it was so hot that within a half-hour, many people went back to the water, The Associated Press reports. A heat wave in Argentina is currently pushing temperatures up to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Authorities believe a patch of debris left by local fishermen attracted the fish to the beach.

Piranhas, a South American fish, often swim in schools and are known for attacking other fish and sometimes humans with their sharp teeth.