12-year-old loses arm, tour guide his leg in rare shark attack while snorkelling in Red Sea off Egyptian coast

The attack occurred on October 25, when two tourists, a mother and her son, and their tour guide went snorkeling in Ras Mohammed National Park


                            12-year-old loses arm, tour guide his leg in rare shark attack while snorkelling in Red Sea off Egyptian coast
(Getty Images)

A 12-year-old boy and a tour guide suffered severe injuries resulting in the loss of an arm and a leg in a deadly shark attack off Sharm El-Sheikh, a popular tourist destination, in Egypt. The attack occurred over the weekend on Sunday, October 25, when two tourists, a mother and her son, and their tour guide went snorkeling in Ras Mohammed National Park. The Egyptian Environment Ministry, in a statement, said that the guide and the teenager were taken to a nearby hospital where they were treated for their injuries. An initial probe showed that the attack involved a six-foot-long Oceanic Whitetip shark. No further details of their injuries were revealed by the ministry, however, a statement from Ukraine’s State Agency for the Development of Tourism said that the 12-year-old boy was a Ukrainian national was in intensive care and that a surgery to save his arm was unsuccessful. 

An Egyptian health official said that while the family’s tour guide lost a leg in the incident, the child's mother had suffered light injuries. The region where the shark attack occurred has reportedly been closed off for the public, according to officials. Shark attacks in the Red Sea coastal region have been rare in recent years.

A Czech father, in 2018, was reportedly killed by a shark while swimming in the Red Sea, his body was later found on Marsa Alam beach. A German tourist was killed by a shark off the Red Sea coast in 2015, the first such death at that time in five years in the region. 

Sharm El-Sheikh, which has become a major tourist destination for European tourists, is popular for its sandy beaches and coral reefs and is frequently visited by divers exploring the coral and other marine life, including fish and sharks. Reports state that at least nine people have been killed in nearly 60 shark attacks across the world so far this year; this is the highest figure of shark attacks since 2013.

Researchers have suggested that one of the reasons could be a shift in hunting ground, the weather, overfishing, and an increase in staycations among visitors. Among those killed in shark attacks eight were men and one woman, and seven out of the nine victims were from Australia alone. Two other fatalities occurred in the United States, in California and Maine. According to the International Shark Attack File (ISAF), there have been nearly 441 fatal shark attacks between 1958 and 2019 across the world. ISAF is set to release a full yearly summary of the total shark attacks this year in January 2021.

The organization, while mentioning last year's shark attacks on its website, stated: "The International Shark Attack File investigated 140 alleged shark-human interactions worldwide in 2019. ISAF confirmed 64 unprovoked shark attacks on humans and 41 confirmed provoked attacks.Of the remaining 35 cases, 12 involved bites to motorized or non-motorized marine vessels (“boat attacks”), one involved shark-inflicted post-mortem bites (“scavenge”), and one case involved a diver in a public aquarium. Three cases were regarded as “doubtful” or incidents that likely did not involve a shark. These included one case attributed to bluefish and one case attributed to a stingray."

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