Egypt shark attack: what happened in Hurghada as woman killed

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Shark attacks have been relatively rare in Egypt’s Red Sea coastal region in recent years, but a series of attacks in 2010 injured four swimmers and killed one



<p>Tourists sunbathe on a beach in Hurghada, Egypt’s Red Sea resort town, on August 25, 2018 (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)</p><div data-ad-id=
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Tourists sunbathe on a beach in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Hurghada August 25, 2018 (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

Egyptian authorities have closed a stretch of the country’s Red Sea coast – a day after a shark attack killed an Austrian woman swimming near the resort of Hurghada.

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What happened?

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An Austrian woman was killed in a shark attack in Egypt on Friday (July 1) while she was swimming near the resort of Hurghada.

The 68-year-old woman, who lost a leg and an arm, died shortly after being rushed to Hurghada’s private Nile Hospital, an Egyptian health official said.

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She was barely alive when admitted on Friday, the official said, adding that attempts by medical staff to revive her had failed.

A beach in the city of Hurghada, Egypt (Photo by MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images)

The officer spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

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Video circulating online is said to show a mako shark attacking the woman relatively close to shore, seen from a nearby pier.

In the video, the water around the woman turns red with blood as bystanders on the pier throw a flotation device at her.

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It is still unclear how she managed to get to shore.

Has the Red Sea coast been closed?

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The day after the attack, authorities cordoned off a stretch of the Red Sea coast.

According to an internal document from the Red Sea provincial governor’s office shared with The Associated Press, authorities were to lock down the area for three days and ban all “sea activities” including scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing and kite sailing.

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A tourist stands in the water in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh August 13, 2017 (Photo by MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP via Getty Images)

Fishing boats were also banned from the waters off Hurghada.

The governor ordered the closure.

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Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, including Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, are among the country’s top resorts and popular with European tourists.

How common are shark attacks in Egypt?

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Shark attacks have been relatively rare in Egypt’s Red Sea coastal region in recent years.

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

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The 2010 Sharm El Sheikh shark attacks, which took place in the Red Sea resort of Egypt, killed one person and injured four. On December 1, 2010, three Russians and one Ukrainian were seriously injured within minutes, and a few days later, on December 5, a German was killed.

Jochen Van Lysebettens, a manager at the resort’s Red Sea Diving College, who saw the attack recounted Sky news: “Suddenly there was a cry for help and a lot of violence in the water. The lifeguard took her onto the reef and noticed that she was badly injured.”

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An oceanic whitetip shark swimming in the blue near Elphinstone reef dive site off the coast of Marsa Alam in Egypt’s Red Sea on October 9, 2018. (Photo by Andrea BERNARDI/AFP via Getty Images)

Shark experts called the attacks “unprecedented” at the time, and Hesham Gabr, chairman of the Sharm El Sheikh Diving and Water Sports Chamber, said in a statement the attacks may have been triggered by overfishing.

He said: “Our initial discussions with shark behavior experts indicate that this highly unusual wave of attacks by an oceanic whitetip shark was triggered by activity, most likely illegal fishing or feeding in the area.”

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On December 9, an international team of experts revealed they had determined that two species of sharks were involved in the attacks – makos and oceanic whitetips.

The team listed a number of possible factors in the shark’s behavior change, including “one or more instances of illegal dumping of animal carcasses in nearby waters; depletion of the natural prey in the area due to overfishing; local feeding of reef fish and/or sharks by swimmers, snorkelers and some divers; and unusually high water temperatures in Sharm El Sheikh”.

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