Red sea shark scares tourists away

2010-12-06 21:19

Sharm el-Sheikh - Beaches were almost deserted at Egypt's luxury Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday after a shark ripped apart a German woman as horrified holidaymakers looked on just days after three other women swimmers were also mauled.

Only a smattering of sunbathers along the beach suspiciously eyed the blue waters where Sunday's frenzied attack happened a mere stone's throw from the shore.

The day before the deadly incident, the mayor of Sharm el-Sheikh had declared the beach safe after three tourists were attacked by the large predators over the previous week.

Oxana Turenko, a Russian holidaymaker, told AFP she had been sunbathing on Sunday when she heard screams.

She ran to a small promontory overlooking the exclusive stretch of beach reserved for hotel guests who pay a premium to avoid the crowds.

"I saw a big fish, maybe two or three metres" long, Turenko said, pointing to the turquoise waters off a long jetty. "Her arms were in the air."

Lifeguards and tourists rushed to the shoreline, but it was too late for the 70-year-old German woman, whose body lay motionless in the water as it floated towards the jetty amid a growing cloud of blood.

"They wrapped her in a black cover," Turenko said.

Shark attack

Another witness, Danish drama student Julie Lund, was on a dive boat about 300m off the jetty when the shark broached to attack the hapless tourist.

Lund's own boyfriend was still below the surface at the time.

"I heard 'Shark attack!'," she said. "The coast guards were driving in boats, very fast, to warn people. Red flags went up along the beach."

Twenty-four hours later, the beach is now being patrolled by wary lifeguards tasked with enforcing a swimming ban.

Some sunbathers insisted on just dipping their toes into the water as they watched a ship stacked with surveillance equipment edging along the coastline, with three smaller boats in tow.

Mohammed Salem, director of South Sinai Conservation, said from aboard one of the boats that conservation experts were not taking any risks this time.

The surveillance ship had been diverted from working for the electricity ministry, which had rented it for an exploratory project to run electric cables to Saudi Arabia, and it was now searching the depths for the killer shark.

Extra pay

After the first attacks on Tuesday and Wednesday, in which three Russian tourists were bitten, authorities said they captured two sharks, an oceanic whitetip and a mako shark, that they believed were responsible for the attacks.

Environment Minister Magid George said that the problem had been solved, and ordered that an extra month's pay be given to the men who caught the sharks.

The beaches were then reopened, despite a warning from a local marine NGO that the killer shark could still be at large.

South Sinai Governor Mohammed Shosha insists that at least one of the sharks captured on Friday was the culprit in last week's attacks.

"We did catch the sharks. There is another shark," he said on Monday.

Authorities are keen to restore normality to the thriving and popular resort, one of the pillars of the vital Egyptian tourism industry, which accounts for about 12% of the country's jobs.

In the past, the resort bounced back quickly from bombings that have killed scores of tourists and Egyptians over the past decade.


The government says the Islamist militants behind those attacks were arrested.

Locating the culprit behind Sunday's mauling may prove more difficult. The authorities cannot simply round up thousands of sharks and force confessions, as rights group allege they did with suspects in the Sinai bomb attacks.

Attacks by sharks on humans are also rare, and their motivation is not well understood. One US-based shark expert who spoke to AFP called the current search "a crapshoot".

Holidaymakers who witnessed Sunday's attack say they will not be taking any more chances.

"It's unpredictable, isn't it?" said a British tourist.

"You don't know what a wild animal will do. Why should you feel safe?"

Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa  |  marine life

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


3 must-do trail runs

If you love trail running, you have to put these on your bucket list.


Where were you when you last felt alive?

Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route
Watch: Insane road bike skills!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

One day only! – 40% off Appliances!

Get 40% off 100’s of appliances at While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is a strong desire to be self sufficient, right and in control today. There is a tendency to hold on too tightly to more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.