Bathers taking a swim in the Parana River in Rosario, Argentina were met with an unwelcome surprise yesterday when an unprecedented attack by piranhas left several swimmers with missing digits.
Yes, you read that correctly: a freak attack of piranhas came out of nowhere and bit people’s fingers and toes clean off.
The Associated Press reports that thousands of Argentines had gathered at the Parana River to beat the 100-degree heat on Christmas Day. Head lifeguard Federico Cornier told the AP that the attacking fish were palometas “a type of piranha, big, voracious and with sharp teeth that can really bite.’ Gawker Media quotes Cornier as saying “This is not normal. It’s normal for there to be an isolated bite or injury, but the magnitude in this case was great… this is an exceptional event.
A paramedic, Alberto Manino who spoke to the AP said that he had personally treated several children who had lost entire digits. Manino also said that the river was closed to swimmers after the incident, but many bathers re-entered the water only a half hour later, apparently unable to withstand the heat.
The AP writes that 70 people were injured, including seven children. Holiday beach-goers were met with scenes lifted straight from a nightmare.