Bodies found after 11 swimmers drown off northern Egypt coast

Tragedy unfolds at Alexandria’s Palm Beach as would-be rescuers killed while trying to save struggling boy

In this Aug. 8, 2019, photo, garbage creeps towards the shore at Stanley Beach in Alexandria, Egypt. Authorities say that 11 people drowned off the coast of northern Egypt on Friday, July 10, 2020 at a beach known for its rocky jetty and fast-moving waters. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, file)

Eleven people drowned off the coast of northern Egypt on Friday at a beach known for its fast-moving waters and rocky jetty, local authorities said.

Palm Beach, in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, became the scene of a tragedy when a young boy ran into the sea and began having difficulties, the city’s central tourism administration said.

When a man from the group jumped in to rescue him, he too became caught in the waters.

Nine other people then entered the water to help, and they all died, said Maj Gen Jamal Rashad. It was not immediately clear if the victims were related.

Emergency teams recovered six bodies and were still searching for the rest late on Friday.

The waters off Alexandria are popular in the summer, but beaches are currently closed and lifeguards off duty due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The group went to the shore at dawn to avoid being caught by police, who try to disperse crowds and enforce coronavirus-related restrictions at beaches in the area, authorities said.

Palm Beach has long been known for its deadly waters, local media reported.

Every year it sees a rash of drownings due to its strong currents, foamy waters and rocky shoreline.

Members of parliament have repeatedly demanded that the beach be closed to the public.

With summer temperatures in Egypt regularly exceeding 40°C, the accident raised concerns over safety as people seek relief from the heat despite pandemic-related restrictions.