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‘Tiger shark didn’t kill Red Sea diver’

Surface view of Elphinstone reef where a tiger shark was seen
Elphinstone in the Egyptian Red Sea (Mattk1979)

A scuba diver whose body was recovered from a Red Sea site having sustained a shark-bite appears to have drowned before the shark came across him – but diving and other marine activities have now been halted around Elphinstone reef for a week.

Further information has emerged about the diver’s death at Elphinstone on 2 May, reported yesterday on Divernet.

Susannah Rose was diving with the group from the liveaboard my Blue that found the man’s body on 3 May. She says she understands him to have been a 58-year-old who had gone missing on the first dive from another liveaboard at Elphinstone the previous day. 

The man had been diving from Sea Serpent Grand, not Sea Serpent as originally reported but another liveaboard from the same six-vessel fleet that operates Brothers-Daedalus-Elphinstone itineraries out of Hurghada.

Died from drowning

A tiger shark described by Rose as “very large” was already on the scene when her group arrived.

“We came across the dead diver at the tip of Elphinstone, but he was too deep for any of us to assist,” she told Divernet. “From what we could see, he had already passed. 

“The assumption is that a shark found him at the point, or just before, we arrived. He was not mutilated and the shark was shaking the diver by the shoulder. 

“The coroner confirmed that that was the only injury, and that the diver had died from drowning.”

The Blue group aborted their dive and their dive-guide informed the crew of Sea Serpent Grand that they had found their missing guest.

“I believe the diver was brought up from 67m a few hours after our boat advised the Sea Serpent Grand,” said Rose. The divers from Blue did not dive at Elphinstone again.

“This was not a shark attack,” Rose emphasised. “The shark became involved after the event, at least as far as we were told, and this also seems to corroborate what we saw.”

The Governor’s Office in the Red Sea is reported to have acted yesterday (8 May) to ban all marine activities in the Elphinstone reef area for a week, after the Red Sea Marine Parks Authority (RSMPA) informed it that a tiger shark had been spotted there.

The Governor was said to have set up a committee consisting of RSMPA and Society for the Conservation of the Environment representatives to monitor shark activity in the area, and to ensure that boat crews were not dumping waste there that might attract sharks.

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