Rogue Shark Kills German Tourist in Egypt's Red Sea Resort Sharm El-Sheikh

A shark mauled a German tourist to death at an Egyptian Red Sea resort where three others have been attacked in the past week.

The 70-year-old woman was swimming off Sharm El-Sheikh when she was attacked, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported today, citing Mohamed El-Khatib, the director of South Sinai Security Directorate. The killing comes after a shark attacked and seriously injured two snorkelers on Nov. 30 to the north of Namaa Bay. A third swimmer was attacked the following day.

Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association, a non-governmental organization, said pictures of a captured oceanic whitetip shark and a dead mako shark that authorities said were responsible for the first attacks did not match photographs of a larger whitetip taken by the divers before they were attacked. “It is clear that they don’t show the same individual,” it said in a statement posted on its website Dec. 3, a day before authorities reopened beaches in the area. Tourism Minister Zoheir Garranah wasn’t available for comment.

Millions of tourists visit Egypt’s eastern coastline every year seeking sun, sand and diving. Tourism accounts for 12.6 percent of jobs in the country, and the government expects revenue to increase more than 17 percent this year to as much as $13 billion, Garranah said in an interview in October.

Authorities have closed off the area for a second time and suspended swimming and diving in Sharm El-Sheikh temporarily, the state-run news agency said. A French tourist was killed in a shark attack in June 2009 in the resort town, in the first such fatal incident in five years.

Lone Killer

A study of oceanic whitetips in the Egyptian part of the Red Sea has shown that only 11 sharks approaching the size of the whitetip believed responsible for the attack on the snorkelers last week had been “documented” during the past six years, the environmental group said by e-mail.

“These observations support the idea that the string of attacks is the result of a single individual behaving in a highly atypical way,” it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alaa Shahine in Cairo at asalha@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net.

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