Story By: James King, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
Around 30 people have been savaged by piranhas while bathing in a river in Argentina including a teenage girl who had a toe bitten off.
The injured were hospitalised including the 13-year-old who needed an emergency skin graft at the Doctor Orlando Alassia Children’s Hospital after her toe was bitten off.
The attack reportedly happened on a public holiday when many people were at the Laguna Setubal bathing spot on the Parana River on the eastern coast of the capital Santa Fe.
As a result of the attacks, local officials stepped in to slap a ban on further bathing, and images showed some of the injured being treated for their wounds.
A spokesman for the local Lifeguards union, Sergio Berardi, said that the piranhas were unusually active because it was warm and they were concentrated in one area because the water levels were exceptionally low.
He said that as soon as the lifeguards noticed one person being bitten, they would order everybody out of the river but people often failed to act quickly enough.
He said that a single bite meant that there were undoubtedly other piranhas in the water as they tended to move in shoals.
The last time there was a major attack on the river was on Christmas Day eight years ago when 60 people were injured. On that occasion the victims included 20 children.
Local media speculated that the fish that carried out the attack were described as palometas, which is a generic name for several species including several piranhas in South America.
They move in shoals and prefer low-water areas to feed and is described as a large and very voracious fish that has very sharp teeth with great cutting power.