Several popular resorts on Egypt’s north coast closed their beaches on Friday after a man was injured in an alleged shark attack that caused widespread panic on social media.
A lifeguard working at a popular gated beach resort on the north coast was reportedly performing a routine patrol of the water when he was injured. The man is alive and his wounds have been treated.
The resort’s management quickly reported the incident to the authorities, claiming that two sharks had been sighted in the water. A swimming ban was quickly sent out to all the resort’s residents who were asked to stay out of the water until further investigations could be carried out.
News of a shark attack on the Mediterranean coast began to spread like wildfire, causing shock and panic. Many social media users expressed their surprise, as shark attacks are usually associated with the Red Sea.
In response to the mounting hysteria online, Egypt’s Environment Ministry issued a statement on Friday afternoon explaining that it had received a report of a shark attack and that it had sent a team to investigate the water and to examine the lifeguard’s injuries.
The ministry denied that the man’s injuries were caused by a shark bite, explaining that its medical team had found that the man's wounds had been caused by a sharp metal object and not a shark.
No shark attacks have ever been reported on Egypt’s Mediterranean shores, the ministry said.
Shark attacks are typically seen in the Red Sea, where a German tourist was killed by a shark in 2010.
The ministry urged people not to panic or spread false news about the incident, promising the utmost transparency in its communications. It also said that the waters in the area are being swept to ensure that they are safe for holidaymakers to return.
Beaches in the area will remain closed until further notice.