Romanian tourist killed in second deadly shark attack off Egypt’s Red Sea coast

Report says incident occurred 600 meters from where Austrian woman was killed on Friday, spurring authorities to close off part of coastline and ban water activities

Illustrative: People play in the Red Sea off Marsa Alam, Egypt, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP/Nariman El-Mofty)
Illustrative: People play in the Red Sea off Marsa Alam, Egypt, Sept. 3, 2017. (AP/Nariman El-Mofty)

Romania’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday that a tourist from the country was killed in a shark attack while vacationing in Egypt, making it the second shark attack death there in recent days.

A 68-year-old Austrian woman died on Friday after losing an arm and a leg in another attack by a Moka shark while swimming in the Red Sea near the resort town of Hurghada.

On Sunday, a second woman was killed in a shark attack, according to reports in local Egyptian media.

According to sources cited by Reuters, the two incidents occurred within 600 meters of each other.

The Romanian Foreign Ministry said it was working to identify the victim, notify the family and see the body repatriated.

On Saturday, Egyptian authorities closed off a stretch of the country’s Red Sea coastline after the Austrian woman died. They banned water activities including diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, and kite sailing. Fishing boats were also banned from the waters off Hurghada.

A video circulated online purported to show the attack that killed the Austrian woman, relatively close to the shore, as seen from a nearby pier. In the video, the water around the swimmer turns red from blood as bystanders on the pier throw a flotation device toward her.

Shark attacks have been relatively rare in Egypt’s Red Sea coastal region in recent years. In 2020, a young Ukrainian boy lost an arm and an Egyptian tour guide lost a leg in a shark attack. In 2010, a spate of shark attacks killed one European tourist and maimed several others off Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula, across the Red Sea from Hurghada.

Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, including Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, are some of the country’s major beach destinations and are popular with European tourists. Divers are drawn by the steep drop-offs of coral reefs just offshore that offer a rich and colorful sea life.

A spokeswoman for Egypt’s Ministry of Environment declined to comment when asked about the second death.

Authorities have in recent years sought to revive the vital tourism sector, battered by years of instability and, more recently, the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

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