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Russian National Killed in Red Sea Shark Attack in Hurghada, Egypt

June 9, 2023

A Russian citizen was killed in a shark attack off the coast of the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Hurghada, on Thursday, 8 June.

In a statement shared to its Facebook account, Egypt’s Ministry of Environment said that a tiger shark was responsible for the beachgoer’s death. A statement issued by the Russian Consulate in Hurghada and published on its Facebook page confirmed that the victim was a Russian national.

Following the tragic incident, Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad instructed the formation of a committee of specialists to verify the circumstances of the accident and scan the water perimeter around the site of attack to monitor any movements of the fish that attacked the victim, read the Ministry’s statement.

A temporary ban on swimming, snorkeling, and water sporting activities has been issued by the Ministry in coordination with the Red Sea Governor, covering a 60 kilometer stretch from the Gouna Red Sea resort in the north to the Soma Bay resort in the south. The ban took effect on Friday, 9 June, and will remain in place for a period of two days.

In a second statement, the Ministry announced that the shark responsible for the attack had been caught by the authorities and was being transferred to a specialized laboratory to determine the cause of its abnormal aggression. It also noted that Tiger Sharks, in particular, have been responsible for several deadly attacks on beachgoers in recent years.

Shark attacks in the Red Sea have been a growing source of public concern since July 2022, when two women were killed by a shark while swimming in the Red Sea resort of Sahl Hashish.

A report subsequently published by a committee of specialists in Red Sea protectorates in collaboration with the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA) warned that shark attacks were more likely to take place during sharks’ mating season, which lasts from mid-April to late July.

In a paper published in August of the same year as part of its Prudent Path campaign, the Egyptian Commission for Social and Economic Rights, meanwhile, noted that overfishing could be another cause for the abnormal aggression of sharks in the Red Sea.

In the paper, professor of marine environment at Suez Canal University’s Faculty of Science and HEPCA advisor Mahmoud Hassan Hanafy explained that recreational fishing causes the loss of fish stocks hundreds of meters under the sea, increasingly causing sharks and other predatory fish to search for food in other areas closer to shore – hence the spike in shark attacks over the past fifteen years.

A video reportedly showing Thursday’s attack has since gone viral on social media, in which a man is heard screaming for help while a woman present at the site cies out in fear.

Several observers have urged social media users to refrain from sharing the footage, including Egyptian business magnate Naguib Sawiris, who took to Twitter to describe the act of circulating the video as “despicable, offensive and harmful,” and inconsiderate towards the victim’s family.

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