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Monday, December 6, 2010

Another shark attack in Sharm

The Foreign Office has warned holidaymakers in an Egyptian resort to be on their guard following a string of shark attacks that have left several people seriously injured and one woman dead.

An elderly German tourist died after she was attacked by an oceanic white tip shark in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh a few days after three Russians and a Ukrainian tourist were badly mauled in similar attacks.

Officials said the tourist died immediately after her arm was bitten off by the shark while she was swimming at the resort.

In response to the attacks the Foreign Office amended its travel advice for people visiting the area.
A statement on its website read: "Attacks by oceanic white tip sharks are extremely rare and shark attacks of any kind are very unusual in the Red Sea.
"If you are considering diving or snorkelling in any of the Red Sea resorts be aware that safety standards of diving operators can vary considerably.
"A basic rule is never to dive or snorkel unaccompanied."

Egypt's Chamber of Diving and Watersports (CDWS) sent an urgent message to its members in Sharm el-Sheikh, instructing them to clear the water.

"Following reports of another incident in Middle Garden local reef, CDWS is calling for all its members in Sharm el-Sheikh to stop any snorkelling activities happening from any boats or shore. Please tell all your boats to immediately recall any snorkellers who may be in the water," it said.

Jochen Van Lysebettens, manager of the Red Sea Diving College thought the same shark had been responsible for all the attacks. He suggested it may have been drawn to the coast by dead sheep left in the water. "I have no idea why this shark is behaving so aggressively," he continued.

"This must have been triggered by something in the past. Unfortunately in this case he is now looking at snorkellers."

One Rolf Schmid, manager of the Sinai Divers’ Centre said the sharks could have been drawn to the coastline by dead cattle – being brought in for the Islamic feast of sacrifice, Eid al-Adha – being dumped in the water.

"It is unusual to have four attacks in a week,’ said

"A possible reason for these attacks is cattle and sheep imported from Australia die on the long voyage and are thrown in the water before the ships reach the harbour."

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