Two women killed in shark attacks off Egypt’s Red Sea coast only hours apart

·2-min read
File picture of tourists snorkelling near a beach at the Red Sea resort of Sahl Hasheesh, Hurghada (REUTERS)
File picture of tourists snorkelling near a beach at the Red Sea resort of Sahl Hasheesh, Hurghada (REUTERS)

A Romanian tourist has been killed in the second fatal shark attack to take place off the Egyptian coast in recent days.

A 68-year-old Austrian woman died on Friday after losing an arm and a leg in an attack by a Mako shark while swimming in the Red Sea near the resort town of Hurghada.

The Romanian Foreign Ministry said it was working to identify the victim, notify the family and see the body repatriated.

On Saturday, Egyptian authorities closed off a stretch of the country's Red Sea coastline after the Austrian woman died.

They banned water activities including diving, snorkelling, wind surfing and kite sailing. Fishing boats were also banned from the waters off Hurghada.

A video circulated online purported to show the attack that killed the Austrian woman, relatively close to the shore, as seen from a nearby pier.

In the video, the water around the swimmer turns red from blood as bystanders on the pier throw a flotation device towards her. It remained unclear how she was able to get to the shore.

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

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

In 2010, a spate of shark attacks killed one European tourist and maimed several others off Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula, across the Red Sea from Hurghada.

Egypt's Red Sea resorts, including Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, are some of 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 tourism sector, battered by years of instability and, more recently, the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

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