The Marsa Alam coast will not be opened for snorkeling and diving on Wednesday as it was supposed to be, following a shark attack on an Austrian tourist, Chief of the Protectorates Sector at the Ministry of Environment Ahmed Salama told Daily News Egypt.
A beach was closed on Monday by the Red Sea governorate, as 20-year-old Kerstin Schachinger was bitten by a shark on Saturday. The closure was initially decided to last for 48 hours, but the coast is being surveyed by authorities.
The Ministry of Environment finally confirmed the incident on Tuesday. The tourist has reportedly been transferred via helicopter from Marsa Alam to Austria to receive medical assistance. The ministry said that the tourist had been referred to Porto Ghalib hospital before leaving to Austria.
The victim said she and her friend were snorkeling with a group of 40 people, and they tried to play with dolphins when the shark appeared to attack someone who pushed it away with his leg, after which she was bitten, the ministry’s statement read.
Salama said the beach where the attack took place was open for basic activities except snorkeling and diving.
Minister of Environment Khalid Fahmy formed an urgent committee of environmental affairs experts headed by his counselor, professor of maritime environment Mahmoud Hanafy, to study the incident and its circumstances, according to the statement.
While sharks aren’t popular in Egypt, the latest attack took place in June 2016 when a shark attacked a young man who was swimming 6km offshore in the popular Red Sea destination of Ain Sokhna.