A Russian man was killed by a tiger shark while swimming off the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Hurghada yesterday (8 June).
Phone video footage circulating online shows Vladimir Popov, 23, struggling to get away as a shark circles and eventually drags him below the surface. A boat went to the man’s assistance, though its occupants were unable to help him.
According to witnesses the shark had continued to maul Popov’s body, until some time later it was caught in a net and brought by a small boat to shore, where it was beaten to death. Egypt’s Environment Ministry later reported that the shark’s body had been removed and was undergoing a forensic examination to determine what had caused its behaviour.
The victim had been living in Egypt for several months with his father, who witnessed his son’s harrowing death. Following the incident, which occurred off Dream Beach, swimming, snorkelling and other water sports were banned along a 74km section of coastline. The order is set to expire on 11 June.
Such fatal incidents are unusual in the Red Sea, but last year an Austrian and a Romanian tourist died in shark encounters that occurred 200m apart off a Hurghada beach, as reported on Divernet.
A subsequent Hurghada Environmental Protection & Conservation Association report blamed both fatalities on a tiger shark. HEPCA said that during the April-July mating season females of the species became more aggressive as they were drawn into shallow waters.
The report also stated that the sharks could be drawn in by food waste dumped at sea by boats and hotels, and animal carcasses discarded by cargo ships.
The previous day (7 June) in the Bahamas, a 73-year-old US tourist on an organised snorkelling tour was bitten on her left calf by a shark as she climbed the stern ladder of the group’s cabin-cruiser. She had been snorkelling at a site called Shark Junction off Taino Beach, Grand Bahama, and was taken to hospital, where her injuries were described as serious.
Global Shark & Ray Census
Meanwhile PADI AWARE had chosen World Oceans Day (8 June) to introduce a fund-raising drive for its proposed Global Shark & Ray Census, an international citizen-science programme aimed at protecting vulnerable species.
Following the template of its Dive Against Debris anti-pollution programme, PADI AWARE said the census would provide “new tools” for PADI divers and non-divers to help advance critical shark and ray marine research, help governments to monitor and meet shark-protection goals, and expand habitat-protection measures and contribute towards establishing Marine Protected Areas.
The organisation says it is trying to raise US $50,000 to develop the necessary data-collection technology to carry out the census.