A 12-year-old boy on vacation in Egypt lost his forearm in a shark attack, local officials said Tuesday.
The Ukrainian boy was snorkeling with his mother and an Egyptian tour guide in Ras Mohammed National Park on the Red Sea in Sharm El-Sheikh when the incident occurred, the Associated Press reported.
The mother also suffered several injuries during the attack, and the Egyptian tour guide also lost his leg.
The three people were treated in a nearby hospital, and an initial investigation revealed that the shark responsible was a six-foot oceanic white shrew, the Egyptian Ministry of Environment said.
According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Fisheries, these sharks, which can grow up to about three meters long, are found all over the world in tropical and subtropical waters.
The State Agency of Ukraine for the Development of Tourism published a statement on Monday in which it said: “The sharks can be found in tropical and subtropical waters: “The 12-year-old boy is still in intensive care after the operation and will have to undergo another operation tomorrow. His shredded hand could not be saved. We wish the victims a speedy recovery and the return to Ukraine”.
The agency also said that it is in contact with the relatives of the victims.
“We encourage all tourists to be as careful as possible in the country of stay, to familiarize themselves with safety regulations, to take extreme tours from licensed tour operators or their official local partners. Do not ignore your health and life!”
Officials have cordoned off the section of the Ras Mohammed National Park where the attack occurred.
“The Minister has decided to suspend all human activities in the vicinity of the attack, in line with current global practice in shark attacks on humans,” said a statement from the Ministry of Environment.
The ministry said it had seen underwater footage of the shark responsible for the attack, which was captured at the site of the incident. The shark behaved in an unusual way and showed behavior that was “inhuman”, the ministry said.
Ras Mohammed National Park, established in 1983, is one of the world’s most famous dive sites with coral reef ecosystems and an abundance of marine life.
Shark attacks in the Egyptian Red Sea coastal region are very rare. However, in the last ten years there have been a handful of fatal incidents.
In 2010, a series of five shark attacks in the region killed a German woman within days, the Middle East Monitor reported. In 2016, another German tourist died after losing his leg in an attack in the waters off Al-Qusair. And in 2018 a Czech tourist was killed by a shark in Marsa Alam.