Egyptian shark attack: Brit tells of lucky escape from ocean predator

December 1, 2010 | by | 47 Comments

A British holidaymaker has told of his lucky escape after four Russian tourists were mauled by a shark in Egypt.

Brit tells of lucky escape from Egyptian shark attack

UPDATE: Shark responsible has been located and will not be killed

Photographer Mike Baker, from Rugby, Warks., was holidaying with his family at the Coral Sea Holiday Village in Sharm El Sheikh – 100 yards from the scene of the horror attack.

Two Russians were believed to have had their arms bitten off by a shark as they swam in the Ras Nasrani area of the resort today.

Another Russian couple were badly injured by a shark in the resort on Tuesday.

The 45-year-old Brit said he was booked in to go snorkeling in the same stretch of sea today, just hours after the second attack took place.

He claimed a deadly shoal of sharks were prowling the coastline.

Mike said: “We were told, when we returned from lunch, that everyone had been called out of the sea and off the jetty which had now been taped off and red flags had been raised to alert everyone not to go in the water.

“We were told a woman had been attacked and taken to hospital.

“It was allegedly a shoal of half a dozen reef sharks, some of which, had come through the safety nets which are beyond the coral reef.

“We had planned to go snorkeling later today, so consider our delay to be very fortunate, although we were told for sharks to come in so close to the shoreline in this area, is very rare.”

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Comments (47)

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  1. Jaimi G says:

    What a ridiculous and poorly researched article.

    I worked in Sharm as a diving instructor in Sharm el Sheikh for 5 years and in recent years there have been the odd solitary Ocean White Tip Shark, not to be confused with harmless and much smaller White Tip Reef Sharks, patrolling around the shoreline in the area north of Sharm el Sheikh. I have had many amazing dives with Oceanics but have always respected whose territory it is and who is boss!

    However in recent years there have been numerous close calls with snorkellers and swimmers largely down to feeding. You really dont want to associate humans with food to an apex predator.

    Last year a French woman was snorkelling with an Oceanic that had been reportedly attracted in and fed by the dive boat she was with. She was bitten and died as a result of blood loss, probably before she even back on the boat.

    In these recent cases over the last few days, the Oceanic in Sharm el Sheikh has bitten the limbs of four tourists, not because it wanted to eat them, but because it wanted to explore what they were, using the only way it knows how, to bite.

    I feel sorry for the victims, their families and all that witnessed this tragedy, but I can assure you that the biggest tragedy of all will be when the Egyptian authorities track down this magnificant creature and kill to prevent any damage to the tourism trade. This is how I have witnessed them deal with this largely unpublished problem in recent years.

    It makes me sad and angry that shark attacks get such oversensationalism coverage and are portayed as such man-eaters, when this couldnt be further from the truth.

    Oh and the photo you have published is of a White Tip Reef Shark.

    As I stated at the beginning of my comment, this article is poor and misleading

    • Ksgallyrit says:

      Yeah that is true. Blame on a famous steven speilberg movie called, “Jaws.”

    • Fiona says:

      Well Done Jaimi , what a fantastic reply and I fully agree that it would be disgusing and appauling if the Egyptian authorities kill this beautiful animal . It is their Home and we are given the privelage to see them and not kill them .

      • Seif Nawar says:

        Of course it’s their home, but there far away deep in the ocean, not near the coast which is considered our home in that case, if we didn’t kill them, they will kill us .. !!

        • High Seas Drifter says:

          It was their home first, Seif…they’ve been there millions of years before us. Humans chose to live near the sea to feed on fish. We enter their domain at our own risk. As Jaimi says in the initial reply, these attacks are the result of unscrupulous dive operators attracting sharks by feeding them in the first place. The sharks then associate humans with food. Shocking story but, once again, the greed of Man is to blame, not the sharks.

          • Tizipisu says:

            this is a competent response to the problem not that one of that idiot of seif nawar……….

          • Gees says:

            I also worked for years in SSH as a dive-instructor. There are hardly any sharks left in SSH, so seeing one is great as a diver. Why kill them? We as humans are making the mistake by feeding the fishes along the coastline. Sharks get attracked bu this! It is even FORBIDDEN to feed fish but people do it anyway when they go snorking just to see more fish. I agree with High Seas Drifter on this one.

        • Tizipisu says:

          since you don’t understand anything about sharks you should not write any thing, you silly cow, there is no place for humans in the sea either near the reef. anyway top of my response to you is shut up and talk about thing that you understand………………

        • Mia says:

          HA HA HA HA !!
          OK NO PROBLEM I WILL LET THE SHARK KNOW TO STAY IN THE DEEP OCEAN AND NOT TO ATTACK SNORKELLERS….
          SEIF THINK BEFORE WRITING!

  2. Mattdownes70 says:

    Appalling use of language-‘predator ‘prowling’. Sharks are still wrongly portrayed as some kind of monster. WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!!! Just large fish that feed. We are bringing them to extinction. Remember that.

  3. brittany says:

    that poor french woman, thats crazy! oceananic white tip sharks are very dangerous they are responsible for most deaths in the middle of the ocean.

    • Ruud says:

      So don’t go swimming in the middle of the ocean. These people were swimming and snorkling next to the fringing reefs that are Sharm’s coastline. There’s only one way why these magnificent animals would be there, and that is feeding them. Nobody would feed a lion in the Serengeti from a few feet distance. But when they are in the sea people don’t understand that they are guests in that environment. I am a professional diver and dived with many different kinds of sharks, respect is the biggest word one can use. Be a guest and behave like a guest.

    • ex sharm diver says:

      the women was on a boat which was throwing food into the sea to attract sharks!!

    • Vally_77 says:

      Dear Brittany, no doubt what happened is a tragedy and everybody’s thoughts are with the victims’ families. However, your comment shows, if you will excuse me, a certain degree of ignorance with regards to sharks’ behaviour. I have been diving many years, for the last 5 have been a diving instructor, 3 of which in Sharm el Sheik and swam really close up to oceanic white tips in several occasions, the last time in the south of the Red Sea when I was in the water with 3 of them and had the most wonderful dive. They are gentle creatures, living in their own environment and must be respected as such. Aggressive display is merely a result of mistaken identity and on this occasion the accident could have very likely been avoided by following one of the simplest of rules set by the National Park of Ras Mohammed. DO NOT FEED THE FISH! Enough of this uneducated comments which seem to be continuously attributing to sharks their man eating stigma. The feeding of the fish is a common practice in many parts of the world, unfortunately so, and even in areas like the Red Sea where such practice is prohibited people chose to ignore it or are unaware of this very basicv principle. It is a clear issue which needs to be addressed. The ecosystem of course gets hugely affected by it, so we cannot expect the marine life not to adapt! This is as much of a tragedy for the victims of the attack as it is for the shark itsel, which will be no doubt ‘disposed of’ and therefore get us closer to estinguishing an endangered species. Read Clare’s comment above. It truely summs it up and I could not have put it in better words myself.

  4. DiverClare says:

    What an inflammatory article… scaremongering for the sake of a dramatic write up.

    The two incidents are a complete tragedy, of that there is no doubt, however it is known that the attack was a solitary shark and it is also known that attacks like these simply do not happen out of the blue. There is usually some other aspect to the story that has encouraged the event.

    I too have lived and worked as a dive guide and instructor in Sharm for the last five years and this kind of incident is extremely rare. In my time here I have heard of three Shark attacks, one of which happened even before I arrived, and each incident could be attributed to people spear fishing or feeding the fish, both of which are illegal here and incredibly foolish and dangerous. It would be like wandering into a lion’s den carrying a side of gazelle on your arm.

    As a result, this shark will probably end up being destroyed, despite efforts to protect its life, and the whole “jaws” mentality will become resurrected once again. After all the work that has gone in to educating people about these creatures, this is a sad state of events.

    These sharks do not sit in wait of some poor snorkler, they will no doubt have been lured by a flurry of smaller fish feeding on bread carried by the swimmers or flapping dying fish if they were spear fishing.

    Maybe it is about time people started listening to those who know a little more. I regularly find snorklers feeding the fish, and they appear completely bemused when I berate them for this. I have even heard of hotels dishing out bread for snorklers to use, although that is purely hearesay. When I first came here, we were shown informative videos on the flight and everyone was vigilant about the rules of the Red Sea. Now we hear of rules being bent in order to attract more tips. Shocking behaviour.

    Of course these poor snorklers may not have even been aware of these rules, it is up to the hotels and their staff to make sure they are informed before going in the water. As a result we now have the tragedy that has happened this week, and my thoughts do go out to those hurt and their families.

  5. charlie says:

    Not that you care, because you have already generated the traffic you are interested in: but this article is lazy, ill-informed, trite, cliché and a textbook example of shoddy journalism.

    The holes in your ‘reporting’ have already been adequately pointed out by others but I feel that, as a responsible visitor to our planet’s oceans, I should put my weight behind the well-deserved flak that you’ve attracted.

    It’s a shame that you won’t get to accompany the shark that you’ve besmirched out to an anonymous stretch of water, to witness its destruction. A pointless death largely encouraged by your dull deisre for a few more cheap page visits. Not that you care.

  6. Go2deepblue says:

    One of the most ridiculous articles I have ever read. Gutter journalism

  7. Oozoochic says:

    Are =/= our. Two different words. Jeez!

  8. Laurenbrown26 says:

    Divers this is what your industry is doing. I know you are trying to save your industry, but when you have people like Patric Douglas and Jim Abernathy feeding sharks and saying who cares about human safety this is what you get.

    Poor families. Ha Ha diving industry.

  9. Sam_burnham says:

    I agree with everyone on here, i dived there a few years ago and the company i dived with were very aware of how to deal with sharks, in a good way.

    this article is rubbish, and the guy/gal who wrote this probably got paid im guessing.

    even a quick google is more imformative than this

  10. Santorufo says:

    Lucky Escape, Deadly Shoal of Sharks, Safety Nets, was this guy really in Sharm ? What a Wanker !!!!

  11. Bob Sinceras says:

    ive been to sharm and will never go back, didnt even care about my welfare when i was under a CERTAIN dive centre’s care.
    Wont say no more!

  12. Tim says:

    This is some of the worst, ignorant,inacurate journalism I have ever read. Its a shame the cretin who wrote it didn’t put their name to it. You should be ashamed of yourself and you’re an embrassment to your professsion.

  13. Mia Fernandes says:

    A shoal of Grey Reefs??? Where where! Wow i would love to dive there then!
    Bless you Mr Tourist, But I live in Sharm and your story is wrong.
    The poor shark will be removed from its HOME! or maybe killed :( . BECAUSE PEOPLE CANT RESPECT THE NATURE! DONT FEED THE FISH….But nooo we always have to take bread or lets see a piece of chicken TO TAKE PHOTOS WITH THE LOVELY FISHYYS, there you go not even you didnt manage the photos but you got attacked by the fish! IDIOTS
    The seas and Oceans are not our territory therefore if we wish to explore them we should respect their habitants……
    I dont feel sorry for any of the victims….I feel sorry for the Sharks.
    Its ironic how only a specific nationality was attacked! ( the ones that we usually forbid to feed the fish!!!)

  14. Sgr1ff says:

    Thanks to all who have rubbished this inaccurate and ignorant piece.
    The Oceanic White Tip is a beautiful shark which appears to be a gentle companion when you encounter it. However it is determined and opportunistic hunter/scavenger who will remain in the vicinity of a potential meal for long periods. It does a useful job in the food chain of the open ocean.
    I am sorry for the victims and their families for this tragic attack. Tour operators must advise customers about the dangers of wild animals.

  15. Philski says:

    This is the reaction of sharks to a spear fishing snorkeler.

    Notice after the fish is speared and the movement attracts the sharks. The sharks knew the snorkoler was there but did nothing to him. Even when attacking the speared fish they was not interested in him. If however he was waving dead fish, chicken or closer to the speared fish he could’ve got bitten by mistake.
    In my opinion as an ex Sharm dive instructor that has been lucky enough to see these fantastic creatures in THEIR environment I feel it was more than likely that our Russian friends had been doing exactly what they are told NOT to do…feed the fish!
    Sad to think that a hunt will no doubt end in the death of a fantastic creature doing nothing more than what nature intended….eat to live.
    Enjoy the sea but respect the life in it and you’ll be ok, ignore the warnings then expect to have unpleasant experiences that follow!

  16. High Seas Drifter says:

    Deadly shoal of sharks, my arse. White Tip reef sharks are not dangerous, and are skittish creatures who will swim away from you if you make any sudden movements on a dive with them. The Oceanic White Tip likely responsible is more dangerous, but rarely comes into contact with humans, there having been only 9 reported cases since records began. This one has come close to shore due to humans baiting them for their customers’ entertainment. Mess with Nature, and Nature is going to mess with you, believe me.

  17. Hols says:

    Is it official that arms were ripped off? we all know how one story turns into another. There should be a ban on ignorant tourists not sharks. I have been to Sharm many times and have always been told by my dive centre never to throw food in the water. I also thought it was a law in Egypt not to feed the fish, instead of going after the shark perhaps they should go after the ‘tourists’ that are now responsible for the death of these beautiful creatures. We all know which ones they are don’t we!!!!

  18. Heshameng19 says:

    It was great white shark

  19. Shane says:

    When we were at Blue reef oasis resort and spa last year in december i saw a oceanic white tip right of the jetty. Took pictures of it as well was a nice size one.
    It swam round a few people of far gardens then swam of to middle gardens.
    Makes you wonder if something is bringing them to area this time of year.
    It was on its own.

  20. Richardlock says:

    Shame on you

    this type of reporting just adds fuel to the fire.
    Sharks are amazing creatures and need protection.
    If tourists feed them what do you expect?
    I go to Sharm every year and it is a highlight to see Sharks

  21. Maintecservices says:

    just got back from sharm last week did go snorkling first time ever it was fantastic no health and safty are disscussed on the boats its all about making money the sea belongs to these sharks people need to respect there enviorment lets hope the shark gets back out to open sea before its killed just to save the tourist pound

  22. AdiverToo says:

    Not being funny, but how are they going to identify an Oceanic White Tip from any other Oceanic White Tip? Identifying the attacker will be tricky at best… Now, sorry tree-huggers but if they do genuinely find this one then it needs to be destroyed. We shoot dogs which attack humans for a very good reason; they have done it before and may do it again. This isn’t giving the green light to wholesale shark slaughter, just pest control. Be realistic, this thing attacked humans and needs to be prevented from doing so again. Re-location is clearly not a practical option given their range. Then we can get back to admiring them and respecting each other’s boundaries.

    • Vally_77 says:

      Actually, for a moment I was hoping you WERE being funny. Then by the end of the article it was apparent that, on the contary, you were dead serious and once again I felt hugely disappointed at how anyone can be so narrow minded to even make a comparison between the attack of a dog and the one of a shark. Now, I do believe anyone should be entitled to their own opinions, but how do you think killing the shark ‘responsible’ for the attack (I am very reluctantly using the word ‘responsible’, as I strongly believe any responsibility falls directly back on our human kind, in particular the large uneducated portion of it) will resolve or contain the problem? It will just be a matter of time before a possible next attack strikes, once again caused by the fact that the feeding of the fish will still continue even after this very sad incident. So, what should we do next, kill the next shark too? The only sensible comment out of your article would lie in the difficulty in finding the shark in question. How do we find out which one is the ‘right’ one? Of course by killing it and, without meaning to be gruesome, trying to investigate if any human body parts can be found inside it. Well, it seems that this has already happened, but as it turns out the shark caught and KILLED, was not the one they were looking for. So, who is going to feel devastated for yet another unnecessary loss? I am and so are my fellow colleagues and those ‘true’ divers out there who really do have a sense of what leaving and breathing the oceans means, respecting the waters, the aquatic life and the environment they live in. Train a dog to associate a fat, jucy and bloody piece of meat to biting a human and that’s exactly what you get feeding the fish and therefore altering the ecosystem. You only get what you ask for. I suppose relocation would be an option, although I would be a lot more in favour of relocating the disrespectful tourists, whose ignorance has costed yet again the life of one and possibly more innocent sharks and the attacks which could have easily been avoided.

    • Divediva says:

      OMG – you really are shallow minded. Maybe when Sharks are introduced a domestic animals mabye then you will have a point.
      Do you think that killing a shark, without addressing the mentality of the real problem the fish feeding tourist, will send a message to all other sharks not to do it, like rubbing a dogs nose in it’s faeces? – oh pleeeaasseee, call yourself a diver!

      • SharkDiva says:

        I’m thinking a shark which now associates pink splashy humans with food is one which we don’t need off a tourist resort where pink splashy humans play. I say kill it too. Harsh, but pragmatic. And then impose huge fines for anyone caught chumming or hand-feeding fish which ultimately brought this shark in and led it to eat out of its food chain. And resulted in its death, when they do catch it. If! We’re not part of their food chain so if we don’t put ourselves in harms way we’ll be OK. That isn’t the same as staying out of the water.

        • shark_girl says:

          whats the point in “head hunting” for a shark? they all look alike. its not like this shark “woke up” that day and said “hey you know what im sick of my day to day food lets try out a human instead!” no because a shark operates on sence. it sampled the human flesh it decided it did not like it and swam away. how can anyone be certain that the other attacks were not by other sharks that got in the same way that one did. and even if it was the same shark. were you there? did you see this? do you know exactly what happened? how do you know that the people didnt try and stop the shark didnt try and corner the shark in. corner any animal on land or in the sea and it will attack until it can be free. i hope you my friend never come face to face with a shark because i would pay to watch the outcome!

    • Hols says:

      ‘Respect each others boundaries’ the sea belongs to the fish not you.

  23. Jonathanroyds says:

    The person who wrote this should be banned!!

  24. Diver says:

    This story is utter bollocks

  25. Robin says:

    Reports here in the UK state that the Egyptian authorities are to try to catch the Oceanic White Tip and return it to deep water. I hope they can do that, but am not going to hold my breath!
    The Sun newspaper also goes on to say that the cuprit was a white-tip reef shark – that well-known peak predator: about what you’d expect from that particular source.
    There will no doubt be panic stations from the less well-informed tourist, many cancelling holidays to Sharm (hopefully at the top of the list will be the less popular nationals – you know who I mean!) – bad news for Sharm but good for us divers.

    I’ve been to Sharm about 25 times now, and never seen one of these big boys. Now that there’s one there, everyone’s banned from joining it in the water. The evils of feeding them seems to have come home to roost – a somewhat excessive penalty, but maybe it will teach others the perils of this particular pastime.

    Robin W

  26. Buzby says:

    Well done to Jami G and Diver Clare who I suspect is Mrs Wilders. Both well written and what was needed to be said. Like Clare and as Jami did, I have worked as a dive instructor for almost nine years here in Sharm. To add my bit. it’s all about education, firstly to the non diving tourists who feed the small fish here with bread or anything. This causes a feeding frenzy, The small fish give off a different electric signal which the bigger fish pick up on and come to investigate. The sharks would get drawn into a frenzy, and will bite at anything. Their mouths are bigger so do more damage. The second group that need educating are those like Seif” and “”Adiver too”. Take a look at Blue Planet video and learn about shark behaviour, or some other footage on Discovery. I’ve just had a shark expert dive with our dive school in Sharm. He worked in South Africa recording data on shark behaviour. It is well documented by people who have done this type of work that you can’t alter a sharks behaviour by feeding. Of course you can get them into a frenzy but they don’t associate boats or humans with food, unless it was done every hour 24 hours a day every day.

    I was a volunteer to dive the actual dive site two days after the attack. There was no Oceanic white tip waiting there for din dins. The catching of the white tip the day before had nothing to do with this as we had a photo of the attacking shark taken by a diver who was in the water the same time and photographed and witnessed the attack. The Oceanic caught was not the same one. They both had very different markings on their dorsal fins. I just hope there’s not going to be a witch hunt for the rest of the sharks in the area. As I said and it’s also has been said by many writing here, that educating the humans is the answer. NO FISH FEEDING

  27. steve says:

    This is very sad for Egypt and all the people who like the sea and much worse than terrorism.
    Shark attacks seems to occur more and more frequently all over the world. For unknown reasons, this problem will get worse.
    One possible solution: It is well known that dolphin chase sharks even killing them. They can charge the shark and use their nose to hit. So why not to use trained dolphins against sharks like the dogs which protect the herds against wolves . Moreover, It could be a plus for tourism.

  28. Jessicamulvehill says:

    i think no one now

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