We received a number of reports from the Egyptian Resort of Sharm el-Sheik where a 70-year-old German tourist was horrifically mauled to death by a Shark yesterday. According to security officials quoted by the Associated Press, the woman's arm was severed in the attack and she literally died within minutes.
This news comes after a series of aggressive Shark attacks in the Red Sea area over the past few days. For example last week 3 Russians and a Ukrainian were badly injured.
As a direct consequence the Chamber of Diving and Water-sports (CDWS) sent an emergency message to its members in Sharm el-Sheikh, clearly instructing them to clear the water. In essence both Divers and Snorkelers are advised to stay away from the water.
Prior to the yesterdays fatal incident, the Egyptian authorities expressed confidence that the capture and killing of 2 sharks on Thursday completely eliminated the threat to swimmers. Following a 48-hour ban on entering the water was lifted yesterday, however all Water-sports, with the exception of specific diving sites, have now been closed again.
Around 40 diving instructors searched the waters in recent days after the initial attacks to monitor Shark activity. They claimed to have found nothing whatsoever. Based on this information the authorities opened Dive Sites again and all Water-sports activities.
Local wisdom thought that the same Shark was responsible for all the attacks, suggesting that it was drawn to the coast by dead sheep left in the water.
It was also reported that British Snorkelers had to vacate the water in a mad rush last Saturday after a large White tip Shark circled around them with intent in an aggressive way.
In the region of 3 million tourists visit Sharm el-Sheikh every year and the European winter months are the most popular. The Red Sea area attracts divers and Snorkelers alike with its exotic fish and colorful coral. Whilst Shark behavioral experts state that this current episode is a highly unusual series of attacks by oceanic White tip Shark, which was most likely triggered by illegal fishing or feeding in the area, this will offer little comfort to the thousands of Tourists currently there and too afraid to even go for a quick dip in the sea.
The big picture underlying question is how will this series of horrific attacks affect the Tourism Industry in the medium to long term. Also will it mean another Jaws like Movie release!