Tourists tell of shark panic as 'sea turned red'

Shocked holidaymakers largely shunned the beaches of the luxury resort Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday after a shark killed an elderly German tourist 20 metres from the shore.

Despite assurances from the Egyptian authorities that the Red Sea resort's shallow waters were safe, only a few sunbathers ventured down to the shore under the watchful eye of lifeguards.

British tour firms advised against bathing and cancelled all water excursions at the resort, which draws thousands of Britons every year to its sun-drenched coastline and renowned reefs.

Sunday's incident was the second shark attack at Sharm-el-Sheikh in days, threatening the resort's reputation as a leading tourist destination. Three Russians and a Ukrainian tourist were mauled last Wednesday, prompting the closure of the beaches and a hunt for the predators.

Officials declared the beaches safe at the weekend after killing two sharks they believed responsible for last week's attacks, despite urgent warnings that the Egyptians had identified the wrong predators. A day later a shark attacked a 70-year-old German woman who was snorkelling. Lifeguards and tourists rushed to help, but were too late.

A British tourist, Ellen Barnes, 31, described the scene. "I was being thrown around in the blood. The shark was thrashing and tearing at this poor woman and I could barely keep my head above the water it was so choppy," she told The Sun. "It was spine-chilling."

Egyptian officials insisted yesterday that the shallow waters were safe, according to Sky TV. "We are not allowing people to swim in deep water," the Tourism Minister, Zuhair Garana, said, before adding that "diving is being allowed. We are advised that sharks will not attack divers." Egypt's Chamber of Diving and Watersports said that diving had been suspended around Naama Bay, the scene of the attacks.

The authorities announced yesterday that they were flying in foreign experts from the US to help investigate the attacks. They have also diverted a state-of-the-art surveillance vessel to trawl the area for the shark. Their intensified efforts come amid criticism that the Egyptians responded to the first attack with an arbitrary cull of two sharks which bore no resemblance to photographs taken of the predator. Sharm-el-Sheikh is one of Egypt's premier tourist destinations and the government is keen to restore confidence there ahead of the holiday season when tourists arrive in droves in search of winter sun.

Meanwhile, locals remained divided over the cause of the attacks. Some suggested that animals shipped in for last month's Eid-al-Adha celebrations had died en route and were thrown overboard, attracting the sharks. A more bizarre theory pinned the blame on Mossad, suggesting that it was an Israeli plot to hit Egypt's tourism industry. "What is being said about Mossad throwing the deadly shark [in the sea] to hit tourism in Egypt is not out of the question," South Sinai's Governor, Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha, was quoted as saying on an Arabic news site.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious 5
film
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss