Not far from the Egyptian seaside resort of Hurghada, an Austrian woman died after a shark attack. The shark approached the 68-year-old woman while she was swimming, the Al-Arabija news channel reported on Saturday, citing Egyptian authorities.
She suffered shock and died in hospital. The Russian agency Ria Novosti reported that the woman lost an arm and a leg in the attack.
The Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vienna confirmed the death of an Austrian without giving any further details. According to media reports, the woman is said to have been married to an Egyptian and lived in Hurghada on the Red Sea.
Tourists watched the tragic scenes before her death from the beach and from a jetty. Video of the incident shows the woman trying to get to safety in red-dyed water. Meanwhile, men from the jetty try to pull her out of the water with a rope.
The incident happened in a bay south of Hurghada. The beach was closed for three days.
The Chamber of Diving and Water Sports (CDWS) informed its members of the sighting of a mako shark in the area following the incident. Water sports such as diving, snorkeling, kitesurfing and windsurfing are not permitted in the area during this time, it said. Mako sharks can reach speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour. When fully grown, they can be over four meters long and weigh over 500 kilograms.
The Red Sea is a popular destination for divers, among others. Shark attacks are actually very rare there. However, there have also been isolated cases of deadly attacks. In 2018 a tourist from the Czech Republic died after a shark attack, in 2015 a German died and in 2010 a German pensioner died.
Between 2009 and 2018, there were an average of nine fatalities per year worldwide as a result of shark attacks, according to the Shark Research Institute. Most attacks happened in the US, most deaths in Australia.
The animals may be attracted by rubbish or by – actually forbidden – food and bait from excursion boats. For dive operators who also offer shark dives, the predatory fish are an important source of income.