Egyptian authorities have shut off parts of the Red Sea coast after a shark attacked two tourists, killing one, a 68-year-old Austrian woman.
The brutal attack, coinciding with the summer holiday season and the arrival of Eid Al-Adha in Egypt in which many vacation-goers head to the country’s beaches, has made waves on social media.
Egypt’s Environment Ministry released a statement pertaining to the attack in which it announced that all water-related activities in the water area of Sahl Hasheesh, a bay by the Red Sea, were suspended until investigations identified the cause of the shark attack.
“The investigative team continues to work in order to identify the cause for the shark’s aggression towards the two casualties,” the statement, published on its official Facebook page, reads.
The Minister of Environment, Yasmin Fouad, also extended her condolences to the victims’ families and loved ones.
The 68-year-old Austrian tourist was swimming when the shark attacked her and another woman, tearing off the deceased’s arm and leg. Injured, she managed to swim and reach the coast’s shore, but died on the way to the hospital.
At the time, information is not available regarding the other tourist’s health condition.
Nonetheless, the shark attack has gained worldwide attention, particularly after video footage of the victim circulated online, showcasing the tourist attempting to swim back as passengers on the same boat watched in horror.
A group of Russian tourists aboard the boat can be heard calling for a lifeguard and demanding urgency.
“Where are the rescuers? F***, she’s covered in blood. Where are the lifeguards? She’s going to f***ing die,” cried the tourists.
A man is seen tossing a rope to the swimming victim in the hopes of hoisting her into the boat safely.
The shark in question has been identified as a Mako shark, according to the Associated Press, a species that rarely attacks humans according to Florida Museum’s International Shark Attack File (ISAF), a research center that maps and records shark attacks worldwide.
According to the ISAF’s data, the Mako and Shortfin Mako make up for a total of 12 attacks in Egypt, with only one being fatal. Despite the infrequency of attacks, Makos are infamous in Egypt’s seas, to the degree that an Egyptian film, titled ‘Mako’, released last year, tells the story of a group of friends who attempt to survive a Mako shark attack.
Generally, shark attacks in Egypt are sparse. The International Shark Attack File records 22 unprovoked shark attacks in Egypt since 1828.
In 2020, a Ukrainian boy visiting Egypt’s Sharm Al-Sheikh suffered a shark attack, he survived but lost an arm in the process. An Egyptian tour guide lost a leg the same year. Over a decade ago, in 2010, a series of shark attacks terrorized the Red Sea coasts of Sharm Al-Sheikh, injuring several tourists and killing one.
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