Three chilling reasons tiger sharks could be prowling Egyptian coast as three swimmers mauled to death in just 12 months | The Sun

Three chilling reasons tiger sharks could be prowling Egyptian coast as three swimmers mauled to death in just 12 months | The Sun

June 10, 2023

THREE chilling reasons why a tiger shark mauled a swimmer to death at a popular holiday hotspot have been revealed by experts.

Vladimir Popov, 23, became the latest shark attack victim along Egypt's Red Sea coast – meaning three people have now been mauled to death in the last 12 months.

Holidaymakers in Hurghada watched in horror as the swimmer was savaged by the killer beast who toyed with his body in the water for two hours.

Despite shark attacks being uncommon, Egypt has been plagued by them in recent years, with two tourists fatally mauled just hours apart in July 2022 in Sahl Hasheesh Bay.

Figures by the International Shark Attack File showed that the country had seen the most fatal shark attacks in the world last year alongside South Africa.

Both countries recorded two unprovoked attacks each – all of them fatal.

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And the death of Popov means there have been three fatal attack off the coast around Hurghada in just 12 months.

The shark that mauled the Russian has seen been hauled onto the shore, killed and taken to a lab for analysis – it is believed to have been stalking the area for three days before the attack.

But experts believe there could be three key reasons as to spike in attacks, a mix of fishing, cattle boats, and an increased number of tourists on the beaches.

Ahmed Fouad, a conservationist from the Red Sea Project, explained sharks feeding patterns are being disrupted by overfishing.

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And so the sharks are then drawn to the coastline in search of food – leading to them attacking humans they mistake for large fish.

The sharks travelling towards the shore are also being drawn by increasing numbers of tourists as they follow the vibrations in the water.

He told The Sun Online: “It’s not uncommon to see sharks in the Red Sea but they used to live in other areas.

“Uncontrolled and sometimes illegal fishing have unbalanced these sharks’ ecosystems – making them migrate elsewhere to find food.

“Unlike humans, however, these animals cannot touch or see properly in order to distinguish a person from a large fish, for instance.

"Instead, they follow smells, as well as movement and vibrations in the water.

He added: "That’s why they tend to swim towards these popular resort cities: because of all the movement coming from boats and tourists swimming in the area."

Marine biologist, Dr Bruno Diaz Lopez, founder of Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute, shares the same perspective as Ahmed.

He told The National News that although shark attacks on people can be uncommon, they may be becoming more frequent in areas where there are growing numbers of people using the sea.

“These types of circumstances are quite exceptional and rare but can happen because humans are more and more at sea,” he said.

“The people go for tourism. Fifty years ago there were none. There are more and more people on the coastline. The probability will increase.”

While not saying this was the case in the Red Sea, Dr Lopez said that in some places bait is provided to attract sharks so that divers can see them.

There have been concerns raised that this could increase the likelihood of attacks.

“What they are doing is basically changing their behaviour,” Dr Lopez explained.

Diving instructor Sameh Mshaly, who knows the area well, also said that livestock boats could also be adding to the problem.

Sharks are drawn close to the shore by ships carrying cattle depositing waste and other animal matter into the Red Sea.

Mshaly said the area is common for these types of ships.

He said: “The shark that attacked the tourist was frenzied.

“Its diet and natural feeding patterns [have been] disrupted because of these livestock boats.”

Essam Omaria, an official at the Ministry of Environment, confirmed that shark behaviour changes significantly due to food and waste dumped from ships.

This is particularly prevalent in the Red Sea Region.

On Friday beaches lay empty as holidaymakers were warned to stay out of the water

Authorities in Hurghada added the sea will remain off limits with a ban on swimming, snorkelling and other water sports until Sunday.

A shark map made by The Sun Online last year shows how two fatal incidents took place yards apart from each other, amid fears it could be the same killer beast.

Several beaches were shut on Egypt's Red Sea coast after two women – one Austrian and one Romanian – were killed in separate shark attacks within 600 metres of each other.

A 68-year-old woman from the Tyrol region of Austria – who was on holiday in Egypt, died after losing an arm and a leg in an attack while swimming in the sea.

Elizabeth Sauer had told her husband she was just going back into the water "for a moment" just before the fatal incident.

Egyptian authorities have said that a Mako shark was responsible for her death.

Both incidents took place off the coast of Sahl Hasheesh near Hurghada, approximately 60 miles southwest of the popular resort of Sharm El Sheikh.

In 2018, a Czech tourist was killed by a shark off a Red Sea beach.

In 2015, A German tourist was similarly killed, Al Jazeera reported.

In 2010, a spate of five attacks in five days unusually close to the shore of tourist hot spot Sharm el-Sheikh killed one German and injured four other foreign tourists.

Vladimir had yelled to his father Yury to save him, but now the distraught parent has told the tale to local news.

He said: "We went to the beach to relax. My son was attacked by a shark, it all happened in seconds.

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“This meat grinder happened in 20 seconds, he was just dragged under the water."

The shark was later pulled to the shore line and clubbed to death in a an attack labelled "barbaric and completely unnecessary" by Ahmed Fouad.

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