For several days in late 2010, the Egyptian holiday resort of Sharm was in the spotlight as a series of shark attacks around Middle Gardens and Ras Nasrani struck horror into holiday makers.
Four visitors were injured and a 5th died. It was the first lethal shark attack in The Red Sea for a year and the first in Sharm for six years.
As with any shark attack anywhere on earth, there is mass hysteria. The government bodies closed down beach locations and scuba diving operations although some travellers still ventured into the waters. It was not long before two sharks were caught and exhibited the world as the ones at fault. However, the Oceanic White Tip to blame for one attack had been photographed by scuba divers and had completely different markings in contrast to the one which was captured.
Just as suddenly as the attacks started, they ceased. Shark gurus had flown to Sharm el Sheikh from all over the world in an attempt to explain what happened. The behaviour certainly wasn’t natural which means the only real explanation was that some form of man-made intervention were to blame.
In more out of the way areas of the Southern Red Sea, shark feeding will happen though it is outlawed. A much more probable conclusion was that the boat taking live sheep to Saudi Arabia threw dead livestock in to the sea. The busy shipping channels near the Straits of Tiran aren’t faraway from the spot in which the shark attacks took place.
In truth, the reasons may not be known but things should be kept in perspective. While shark attacks are terrible, they're incredibly infrequent.
In comparison, 3 tourist bus accidents in October, November and December took an overall total of 22 lives yet still was given very little publicity. Thank goodness, tourism in Egypt is fairly tough and has recovered strongly in the aftermath of quite a few tragedies.
Sharm el Sheikh is Egypt’s most successful holiday location.
Written and contributed by ratherton