|Piranha fish are known for their sharp teeth and large appetite for meat. Hundreds of attacks are reported every year, with experts and biologists often warning swimmers not to go into unknown waters|
More than 60 swimmers have been injured in a mass piranha attack.
The victims, including more than 20 children, were bitten by the shoal of meat-eating fish in Argentina.
A seven-year-old girl lost part of a finger and other swimmers suffered deep cuts to their ankles, fingers and hands.
The attack happened on a sweltering Christmas Day at a popular beach on the Parana River in the city of Rosario, birthplace of the Barcelona striker Lionel Messi.
Swimmers trying to cool down in 38C (100F) temperatures raced out of the water bleeding from wounds and shouting for help while the parents of children in the water rushed to their aid to drag them to safety.
Coastguards called paramedics so they could assist the most seriously injured before police temporarily closed off the beach, forcing people out of the water who continued to swim despite the danger.
The attack, blamed on a piranha species called palometas, was the most serious of its kind in the city since 2008 when 40 swimmers were hurt.
Paramedic Gustavo Centurion described them as ‘very aggressive’. The piranha are said to have been attracted by debris left by fishermen.
Local government spokesman Ricardo Biasatti described the attack as a rarity.
In 2011 a drunk 18-year-old bled to death after he leaped into a Bolivian river infested with pirahna. The teenager jumped out of a canoe in the town of Rosario del Yata, 400 miles north of the capital La Paz.
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