Two women killed in shark attacks in Egypt’s Red Sea

Two women, one Austrian and the other Romanian, were killed this week in shark attacks off the coast of Egypt, Egypt’s environment ministry and the tourists’ respective foreign ministries said on Sunday.

“Two women were attacked by a shark while swimming” in the Sahl Hasheesh area south of Hurghada on the Red Sea, the Egyptian ministry said on Facebook on Sunday, reporting that both were killed.

According to the Austrian news agency APA, one of the women was a 68-year-old from the Tyrol region who was on holiday in Egypt.

The Austrian Foreign Ministry confirmed to AFP “the death of an Austrian citizen in Egypt” on Sunday, without providing further details.

Citing information from Egyptian authorities, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to AFP on Sunday “the death of a Romanian citizen”, which “appears to have been caused” by a “shark attack” near Hurghada.

FILE PHOTO: Empty sunbeds are seen during low tide on the beach of the Red Sea resort of Sahl Hasheesh, Hurghada
Empty sunbeds are seen during low tide on the beach of the resort town of Sahl Hasheesh, Hurghada, Egypt on the Red Sea, January 8, 2020.

AMR ABDALLAH DALSH / REUTERS


It was unclear whether the two women were attacked by the same shark.

Red Sea governor Amr Hanafi on Friday ordered all beaches in the area to be closed for three days after “an Austrian tourist tore her left arm, apparently in a shark attack”.

Social media users Friday shared a video — the authenticity, date and location that AFP could not independently verify — showing a swimmer struggling before a pool of blood appeared to appear around her.

A task force is working to “identify the scientific causes and circumstances of the attack” and determine “the reasons behind the shark’s behavior that led to the incident,” the environment ministry said Sunday.

The Red Sea is a popular tourist destination, where sharks are common but rarely attack people who swim within the allowed limits.

In 2020, a young one Ukrainian boy lost an arm and an Egyptian guide lost a leg when attacked by a shark.

In 2018, a Czech tourist was killed by a shark in front of a beach on the Red Sea. A German tourist was killed in a similar attack in 2015.

In 2010, a wave of five attacks in five days unusually close to the coast of tourist hotspot Sharm el-Sheikh, a German killed and injured four other foreign tourists.

In 2021, shark attacks increased worldwide after three consecutive years of decline, according to a report released in January.

Egypt is currently struggling to overcome rising inflation and currency weakness.

The country relies heavily on tourism revenue from the Red Sea, which accounts for about 65 percent of tourists visiting the country.

The tourism industry has been ravaged by successive blows over the past decade, including the country’s 2011 uprising, the ensuing unrest and the coronavirus pandemic.

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