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Photo shows Heitor Miguel Coelho, undated. He was attacked by piranha on beach at Praia do Caju, in Palmas. (Newsflash)

Horrified tourists have told how they were attacked by deadly piranhas as they swam in a riverside resort in Brazil.

Photo shows Heitor Miguel Coelho, undated. He was attacked by piranha on beach at Praia do Caju, in Palmas. (Newsflash)

At least eight swimmers were attacked in a single day as they paddled in the Tocantins River at the Praia do Caju beach in the central Brazilian city of Palmas, according to local media.

One victim, Heitor Miguel Coelho, said: “I felt something biting me and at the time I started to run out of the water because as blood was going to come out, more piranhas could come and bite me more.”

Another tourist – named as nursing technician Ozirene de Sena – said one of her friends was also bitten after one of the flesh-eating fish attacked a young girl.

She said: “It was about three o’clock in the afternoon when a child was attacked. It bit the child’s foot.

“When the little girl ran away, the piranha quickly grabbed my friend’s foot.”

Ozirene added that she managed to bandage her friend herself and did not need to go to hospital.

The piranha attacks reportedly began in early June and locals are worried that it will ruin the tourist season.

Photo shows the injury of Heitor Miguel Coelho. He was attacked by piranha on beach at Praia do Caju, in Palmas in June 2023. (Newsflash)

An extensive system of screens is reportedly set to be installed in a bid to prevent the piranhas from reaching bathers.

But Ozirene said: “The screens are all down. There are no screens, everything is open.

” Beach season is right around the corner. People are arriving from other places, but who wants to get in the water with piranhas biting people like that?”

Piranha attacks are reportedly not uncommon in Palmas, with 18 attacks recorded in a single day in July last year.

Local shopkeepers in Praia do Caju told local media that screens had been installed before but they have degraded over time and now have holes in them and massive gaps allowing the piranhas to get through an attack bathers.

Local authorities claim they carry out regular maintenance and have said that they are in the process of subcontracting maintenance for the screens for the 2023 tourist season.

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