Egypt closes Red Sea resort beach after two women die in shark attacks

Victims identified as tourists from Austria and Romania; experts seeking reasons for the attacks

A red flag warning of shark sightings flutters over tourists on the beach at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Two women, an Austrian and a Romanian, were killed in separate shark attacks off Egypt’s Red Sea coast to the south of the resort city of Hurghada.

Authorities ordered the beach to be closed for three days after the 68-year-old Austrian tourist was attacked on Friday at Sahl Hasheesh, a high-end holiday spot famous for its pristine seawater and golden sandy beaches.

The body of a Romanian tourist in her late forties was discovered hours later, local sources told Reuters.

They said the attacks occurred with 600 metres of each other.

Egypt's Environment Ministry said on Sunday that a team of experts was trying to establish “scientific” reasons for the attacks.

A video clip posted online, purportedly of the attack on the Austrian tourist, shows holidaymakers watching from a pier as a shark attacks a woman close to the beach.

The authenticity of the clip could not immediately be verified.

Fatal shark attacks are uncommon on Egypt's Red Sea coast.

In 2020, a Ukrainian boy lost an arm and an Egyptian tour guide a leg in a shark attack.

A Czech tourist was killed by a shark off a Red Sea beach in 2018, three years after a German tourist died in a shark attack.

In 2010, a spate of shark attacks killed one European tourist and maimed several others in Sharm El Sheikh, a popular resort on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, across the Red Sea from Hurghada.

Egypt's Red Sea resorts are among the country's major beach destinations and are popular with European tourists. Divers are drawn by the steep drop-offs of coral reefs just offshore that offer a rich and colourful sea life.

Authorities have in recent years sought to revive the vital, labour-intensive tourism industry, battered by years of instability following a popular uprising in 2011 and later by the coronavirus pandemic and the fallout from the war in Ukraine.

Egypt relies heavily on tourism revenue from the Red Sea region, which draws about 65 per cent of all tourists arriving in the country.

Updated: July 03, 2022, 5:54 PM