Shark Attack in Red Sea, German Woman Killed
The most recent attack occurred just a day after beaches were reopened in Sharm el-Sheikh, a resort town on the Sinai Peninsula, popular with divers and snorkelers.
The incident is drawing comparison to the storyline of the movie "Jaws," in which the mayor makes the wrong decision in the wake of a shark attack.
The woman was swimming off Sharm el-Sheikh when the shark tore off her arm, according to Egyptian officials. Witnesses reported hearing the victim screaming. She was killed almost immediately.
"It was definitely a shark attack," says Hesham Gabar, the head of Egypt's Chamber of Diving and Water Sports.
Beaches had been closed and all watersports banned around Sharm el-Sheikh after four other European tourists were mauled by sharks, two losing limbs. All were taken to Cairo for treatment.
But late last week, days after the first attacks, authorities announced they had caught two adult oceanic white tip sharks they believed were responsible. Official divers declared popular diving spots safe and the beaches were reopened.
At the time, a local conservation group questioned if the shark responsible had really been caught.
Following the death of the German woman, the beaches were again closed, indefinitely.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian government has asked for outside help in determining why sharks are attacking humans and why the deep-sea creatures are coming closer to shore. Some environmentalists warned the attacks may be the result of overfishing in the Red Sea.
"We are getting marine biologists from abroad to assess the situation and why there was this change in biological nature," says Zuhair Garana, the Egyptian Tourism Minister.
"This is unnatural. It has never happened before. We have no explanation."
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Photo, Thomas Ehrensperger
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