Red Bellied Piranha
Three Red-Bellied piranhas are believed to have attacked two men in the Liujiang River in China. Wikipedia

Two men had quite a scare this weekend when they were attacked by three piranhas in China's Liujiang River.

Zhang Kaibo has been washing his dog in the river when the attack occurred Saturday morning. The man claims that three deadly fish were in the water, with one of them biting viciously into his left hand.

One of the minor arteries in my hand had been bitten through, said Zhang to the China Daily. The man, who claims he lost almost a chunk of flesh on his hand, eventually had to seek medical help when the wound wouldn't stop bleeding.

Shanghai Daily reports that Zhang's friend was also wounded in the piranha attack, receiving a bite on one of his thumbs.

Three such fish attacked me fiercely right after I put my left hand into the river, continued Zhang. One of the fish just bit on my palm even when I tried to throw it onto the ground.

While Zhang and his friend were able to kill one of the piranhas that attacked them, two of the fish are still loose in the river.

The piranha's existence in the Liujiang River comes as a shock because they are usually native to the Amazon River and the Paraguay River, both which exist in the Southern Hemisphere, Global Times reports.

Due to the alien invasion by the fish, many people, including Li Xinhui, a researcher at the Pearl River Fisheries Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, believe that they were dumped in the Liujiang River.

I assume these piranhas were dumped in the river by a tropical fish keeper, said Li. As this species can hardly survive naturally in the Liujiang River where water temperatures fall below what these fish require.

According to the China Daily though, if a tropical fish keeper did release the fish into the water, it was done so illegally due to the fact that the piranha is forbidden in china, and considered illegal.

The existence of the piranhas in the river has struck fear in local residents, but the government is working on capturing the fish.

We'll try to capture dangerous fish after receiving a report, but it's not easy to catch two fish in a river, especially in such a deep and broad river like Liujiang, said Xu Xiang, an official with Liuzhou's water authority.

Xu believes that the fish in question is the red-bellied piranha.