On Christmas day, a group of swimmers were injured after coming toe-to-toe with a school of flesh eating fish. It happened in a river close to the city of Rosario, in the country of Argentina, about 185 miles north of Buenos Aires. And according to the Latin Times, a large number of people were badly injured.
“There were some people that the fish literally had torn bits of flesh from,” said a local medic. And Federico Cornier, who’s a lifeguard director in Argentina, said this type of attack usually doesn’t occur.
“It’s normal for there to be an isolated bite or injury, but the magnitude in this case was great,” he told the BBC. “This is an exceptional event.”
Sadly, a 7-year old girl lost a finger and others received severe injuries to their hands and feet. One gentlemen lost a good portion of his toe during the attack. In total, 70 people were injured.
Experts say the flesh eating fish are called palometa fish, and they’re part of the piranha family, usually located in South America.
Local paramedic, Alberto Manino said beaches in the area were immediately closed after the attack, but within 30-minutes, many folks made their way back into the water due to the sweltering heat.
In Brazil, 100 swimmers faced a similar encounter in 2011, when they were attacked by a group of piranhas. A spokesman for the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources said the attack had a lot to do with the fish not getting their normal amount of food, as they typically feed on other fish like tilapia.
Jan Mol, of the University of Suriname, which is located on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America, told the site Practical Fishkeeping that piranha attacks against humans are rare, but they can happen during certain seasons.
“In the low-water season, when hungry fish become concentrated in pools, some piranha species may be dangerous to any animal or human that enters the water.”
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