More than 70 swimmers suffered injuries from a large-scale piranha attack in an Argentine river on Christmas Day.
Thousands of people were swimming in the Paraná River in Rosario, a city north of Buenos Aires, when the piranha attack occurred.
Dozens of swimmers, including children, suffered injuries to their limbs and skin. Some lost fingers and toes.
Local officials said a school of palometa fish, a large species of piranha, was responsible for the attack.
Federico Cornier, the Rosario director of lifeguards, said piranha attacks of this scale are uncommon in the Paraná River.
“This is not normal,” Cornier told the BBC. “It’s normal for there to be an isolated bite or injury, but the magnitude of this case was great… this is an exceptional event.”
So why and how did such a massive piranha attack happen?
Argentina experienced a triple-digit heat wave on Christmas day. Thousands of people flocked to the Paraná River as a way to cool down because the city’s beaches were reportedly closed.
The high temperatures also likely brought the school of piranhas up to the river’s surface where the swimmers were.
The Paraná River (which sounds an awful lot like Piranha River, which should have been a hint) is a huge body of water that runs through Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. It’s second in size to the Amazon River.
Read about a deadly shark attack of the coast of Maui, Hawaii.