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Biting fish: Carnivorous mass piranha attack ends in lost toes, fingers, 70 hurt

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Biting fish had their own Christmas Day meal consisting of people’s toes and fingers when more than 70 bathers were attacked by a carnivorous mass of biting palometa fish, “a type of piranha, big, voracious and with sharp teeth that can really bite," reported BBC News on Dec. 26, 2013.

The biting flesh-eating fish attack happened on Christmas Day in the Parana River in Rosario, which is about 186 miles (300 km) north of Buenos Aires in Argentina.

According to officials, the ferocious mass piranha attack took place quite unexpectedly as thousands of bathers were cooling off in the river from Argentina’s summer heat wave. Lifeguards report that without any warning, dozens of bathers all of a sudden complained of being bitten by something with extremely sharp teeth.

Federico Cornier, the director of lifeguards in Rosario, said that bathers suddenly began to complain of bite marks on hands and feet. "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."

The mass fish attack by the carnivorous piranhas was described by a doctor on the scene as “very aggressive” and the most severe of its kind since 40 people were injured in 2008. The feeding frenzy by the biting fish resulted in more than 70 bathers having severe and deep cuts and seven children lost parts of their fingers or toes. CBS8 reports that “Paramedic Alberto Manino said some children he treated lost entire digits.”

The biting fish attack on Christmas Day is being attributed to the piranha-type palometa having been attracted to the area because of debris left by fishermen.

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