A mass piranha attack left sixty people injured as they enjoy a Christmas Day swim in an Argentine river. Dozens of bathers including more than 20 children were bitten by the shoal of meat-eating fish during the surprise attack, and a seven-year-old girl lost part of one of her fingers and a young boy was left with an open fracture in his hand.
The incident occurred on a local beach on the banks of the Parana River. Biologists believe that it was sweltering heat that provoked the attack. Temperatures in the city raised to 38 degrees Centigrade. In addition, the fish could sense the blood. There are seven children among the victims, two of them were seriously injured. Most of the victims suffered bites of their arms; some of them had pieces of muscle tissue bitten out. The beaches were closed immediately after the incident. The waters of the Parana River are inhabited by two species of freshwater piranhas – Pygocentrus nattereri and Serrasalmus spilopleura. They reach 33 inches in length and can weigh up to 3.8 kilograms
Swimmers trying to cool down in 100 degrees temperatures raced out of the water bleeding from wounds and shouting for help while the parents of children in the water rushed to their aid to drag them to safety.
Coastguards called paramedics so they could assist the most seriously injured before police temporarily closed off the beach, forcing people out of the water who continued to swim despite the danger.
The attack, blamed on a piranha cousin called palometas, was the most serious of its kind in the city since 2008 when 40 swimmers were hurt.
Paramedic Gustavo Centurion described them as ‘very aggressive.’