Piranha attack injures 70 people - children lose fingers and toes
A surprise attack by a school of carnivorous fish has injured 70 people bathing in an Argentinian river, including seven children who lost parts of their fingers or toes.
Director of lifeguards Federico Cornier said today that thousands of bathers were cooling off from 100-degree temperatures in the Parana River in Rosario yesterday 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 Todo Noticias channel that city beaches were closed, but it was so hot that within a half-hour, many people went back to the water.
Two years ago piranhas attacked and killed a young man who leapt into a river in north-eastern Bolivia,
The 18-year-old victim was drunk when he jumped out of a canoe in the town of Rosario del Yata, said Daniel Cayaya, a police official in the nearby city of Guayaramerin, 400 miles north of the administrative capital, La Paz.
The man bled to death after the attack, Mr Cayaya said.
Police suspect the death was suicide because the man was a fisherman in the region and would have known the Yata river contained flesh-eating fish.