Egypt Puts Out S.O.S. After Spate of Sinai Shark Attacks

A photo taken from footage of great white shark by Chuck Patterson. Chuck Patterson

The Egyptian government, unnerved by a spate of recent shark attacks around the Red Sea waters off Sharm el-Sheikh, says it is calling in "experts" to help explain the phenomenon.

A photo taken from footage of great white shark by Chuck Patterson.
A photo taken from footage of great white shark by Chuck Patterson.
Chuck Patterson

On Sunday, a German woman died after a shark attack, only days after four East European tourists swimming in the same waters were bitten in shark attacks.

"We are getting marine biologists from abroad to assess the situation and why there was this change in biological nature," said Zuhair Garana, the Egyptian Tourism Minister was quoted in The Telegraph.

The minister obviously wants to send a signal to European tour operators that the government's doing its all to prevent their clients from turning into fish food - beach tourism contributes more than half of Egypt's $12 billion annual tourism revenues - but anybody who's ever been to Sharm Sharm el-Sheikh also knows that the area is simply crawling with sharks. That's a risk tourists take in order to swim, snorkel and dive to visit one of the world's more amazingly beautiful coral reefs.

So is this anything more than bad luck? Anyone's guess but the posturing has already begun. The Christian Science Monitor reports that some environmentalists are drawing a connection to the "Red Sea's declining ecosystem."

Meanwhile, Garana is suggesting this is something out of the ordinary. "This is unnatural," he told the Telegraph. "It has never happened before. We have no explanation."

  • CBSNews.com

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