70 Argentines Injured in Carnivorous Fish Attack

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - 16:15

On Christmas Day, Argentines bathing in the popular swimming spot of the Paraná River near the city of Rosario (which lies about 200 miles northwest of Buenos Aires) were attacked by a swarm of flesh-eating fish. Thousands were bathing in the river to escape the 100-degree heat that has been affecting the region when the carnivorous fish attacked.

Fortunately, no one was killed during the incident. 70 people were treated in local clinics and emergency rooms after receiving bites and losing bits of flesh. One seven-year-old girl lost a finger to the fish, while many others also had serious bites on their extremities.

The fish that attacked the bathers were palometas, a species of large fish related to the piranha. Although many South American rivers are known for the presence of these carnivorous fish, an attack of this magnitude is rare. The lifeguards director Federico Cornier stated, "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."

Taking the size of the river into consideration, Ricardo Biasatti, vice secretary of Natural Resources for the province of Santa Fe stated that the attack was “isolated and insignificant.” Juan Aguilar of the local fishermen's group stated that attacks on humans by this type of fish are occasional and it is rare that another attack of this extent will occur again.

About Author(s)

Madeline Townsend
Madeline is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh. She is pursuing a degree in Spanish and Global Studies, with a focus on the Latin American region. She plans to present an honors thesis on visual representations of the internal conflict that occurred in Peru between 1980 and 2000. She also studies Portuguese and Film Studies as minors and works as one of the Panoramas interns.