Piranhas attack bathers in Rosario, Argentina

A surprise attack by a school of carnivorous fish has injured 70 people bathing in an Argentine river, including seven children who lost parts of their fingers or toes.

7 children lose parts of their fingers or toes

A man is treated after he was biten by a palometa, a type of piranha, while wading in the Parana River in Rosario, Argentina, on Wednesday. (Silvina Salinas/La Capital/Associated Press)

A surprise attack by a school of carnivorous fish has injured 70 people bathing in an Argentine river, including seven children who lost parts of their fingers or toes.

Director of lifeguards Federico Cornier said Thursday that thousands of bathers were cooling off from the 40 C 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."

Paramedic Alberto Manino said some children he treated lost entire digits. He told the TodoNoticias news channel that city beaches were closed following the incident, but it was so hot that within a half-hour, many people went back to the water.

The fish inhabit the waters of South America's Parana and Paraguay Rivers. 

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