Now beaches surrounding the Red Sea resort, south of the city of Hurghada, have been closed as concern mounts about the prospect of future attacks. Hurghada, located just 60 miles across the sea from the popular resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, is likewise a popular destination for tourists.
The body of a Romanian tourist in her late forties was discovered hours after an attack which left a 68-year-old Austrian woman, named locally as Elisabeth Sauer, dead.
Both attacks happened within 600 metres of each other, off the coast of Sahl Hasheesh, a bay located on the Red Sea coast roughly six miles south of Hurghada International Airport.
In a statement issued yesterday (Sunday) the Egyptian Ministry of Environment said a committee had been formed to examine the circumstances of the attacks and any scientific reasons behind them.
Major General Amr Hanafi, Governor of the Red Sea Governorate, has issued an order suspending all activity in the area surrounding the attacks.
The Romanian Foreign Ministry is trying to establish the identity of the second victim, notify her family and bring her home. She is thought to have been staying at Premiere Le Reve, an adults-only five-star hotel.
The first victim was transferred to a local private hospital, an insider at the Red Sea Health Affairs Directorate said.
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She was last seen walking in shallow water close to the beach while using a snorkel with fins.
The woman, who is believed to have lived in Egypt for five years, is understood to have said: “I’ll go back in for a second” shortly before the attack.
Harrowing footage circulating on social media showed her trying to swim after apparently having her arm and a leg bitten off. Horrified onlookers tried to distract the shark, thought to have been either a Mako or an Oceanic whitetip.
The cause of death was listed as “painful shock”, probably the result of a heart attack.
An unnamed Russian tourist who filmed the first clip also shared a new video showing where the second had happened.
He commented: “Using his finger to explain, he said: “This is a small lagoon where we saw the shark for the first time. And we didn’t realise it was a shark.
“The attack I filmed earlier was here. And the body of the second woman was pulled out approximately here.”
Sharks attacks in the Red Sea are not unheard of. In 2020 a boy has had part of his arm bitten off by a shark in the Red Sea close to Sharm El-Sheikh – while a man who was with him lost his leg.
The youngster, from Ukraine, was snorkelling with his mother and an Egyptian tour guide in Ras Mohammed National Park when the terrifying attack happened. The boy’s mother also sustained several injuries, while the tour guide’s leg was bitten off.
Nevertheless, statistically speaking, shark attacks are rare, with an average of just over 70 a year worldwide, a tiny number considering the vast number of people who swim regularly.