Two women, an Austrian and a Romanian were pronounced dead after a shark attack this week in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt.
Sources said that the body of the Romanian tourist in her late 40s was found hours after the attack that left a 68-year-old Austrian woman dead. The attacks happened within 600 metres of each other.
“We offer our sincerest condolences to the families of the two victims,” said Egyptian Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad. “As soon as we received a report that two women were attacked by a shark while practicing surface swimming in the area facing Sahl Hasheesh resort, south of Hurghada, a working group was formed from specialists in the Red Sea reserves and the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA),” said the statement.
According to the Austrian news agency, APA confirmed that one of the women was a 68-year-old from the country’s Tyrol region who was holidaying in Egypt. This was further confirmed by Austria’s foreign ministry.
Meanwhile, the Romanian foreign ministry also confirmed on Sunday “the death of a Romanian citizen” which appeared to have been caused by a “shark attack” off Hurghada.
Following the accident, the Red Sea governor Amr Hanafi issued an order on Friday to close several Red Sea beaches and suspend all sea sports and activities in the area.
Social media users on Friday shared a video, the authenticity, date, and location of which could not be independently verified, showing a swimmer struggling before what appeared to be a pool of blood emerged around her.
The Red Sea is a popular tourist destination, where sharks are common but rarely attack people swimming within authorised limits.
In 2018, a Czech tourist was killed by a shark off a Red Sea beach. A similar attack killed a German tourist in 2015.
Egypt is currently struggling to overcome rising inflation and currency weakness. The country relies heavily on tourism revenues from the Red Sea, which accounts for a majority of tourists visiting the country.
However, the tourism industry has been battered by successive blows over the past decade, including the country’s 2011 revolution, ensuing unrest, and the coronavirus pandemic.
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