Two tourists, one Austrian and the other Romanian, were killed in a shark attack this week off the coast of Egypt, Egypt’s environment ministry and the tourists’ respective foreign ministries have stated.
“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 Sunday on Facebook, reporting that both died.
One of the women was a 68-year-old from the country’s Tyrol region who was holidaying in Egypt.
Citing information received from Egyptian authorities, Romania’s foreign ministry confirmed “the death of a Romanian citizen” which “appeared” to have been caused by a “shark attack” off Hurghada.
Red Sea governor Amr Hanafi had ordered the closure of all beaches in the area for three days after “an Austrian tourist had her left arm torn off, seemingly in a shark attack”.
A task force is working to “identify the scientific causes and circumstances of the attack” and determine “the reasons behind the shark’s behaviour that resulted in the incident”, the environment ministry said.
The Red Sea is a popular tourist destination, where sharks are common but rarely attack people swimming within authorised limits.
In 2018, a Czech tourist was killed by a shark off a Red Sea beach. A similar attack killed a German tourist in 2015.
In 2010, a spate of five attacks in five days unusually close to the shore of tourist hotspot Sharm el-Sheikh killed one German and injured four other foreign tourists.
Egypt is currently struggling to overcome rising inflation and currency weakness.
The country relies heavily on tourism revenues from the Red Sea, which accounts for some 65 per cent of tourists visiting the country.
The tourism industry has been battered by successive blows over the past decade, including the country’s 2011 uprising, ensuing unrest and the coronavirus pandemic
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