Sounds like it could be the film title for a Russian version of the classic shark movie, doesn't it? But in this case, truth is stranger than fiction. One of my students told me today about how a shark is preying on Russian vacationers in Egypt, and then later on I saw this article in The Moscow Times. Its true! According to the Russian Embassy, three Russians and a Ukrainian were all mauled at separate times on Tuesday and Wednesday while swimming at Sharm el-Sheikh, a Red Sea resort. All four victims have been hospitalized in Cairo with serious injuries.
Egypt is a very popular tourist destination for Russians, something I didn't know until I came here and every Russian I met seemed to have been to the Land of the Pharoahs (although they all stick to the coastal resorts, rather than doing the pyramid thing, which I think is kind of a shame). One student described Egypt as being "Russia's," like "Canada's Dominicana," because, as she went on to explain, when she went to the Dominican Republic, all the tourists there were Canadian. I've personally never been to a resort, but I did go to a university where about 80% of the student population headed to the Dominican for a debaucherous Reading Week, so that seems about right. Anyways, maybe its just because the sheer number of Russians vacationing in Egypt increases the odds of shark victims being Russian, but it is somewhat curious that three of the four were Russian, and the other one was Ukrainian, don't you think? We joked in class today about how maybe the shark checks the passport of the swimmer first... :) (is it insensitive to joke about this when people have been critically injured? Well, yes, I suppose it is, and I do feel bad.)
Fortunately for future swimmers (if there's anyone left out there who still wants to brave the shark-infested beach - I know that I for one will be avoiding open water for the next little bit, although bearing in mind the current weather conditions here I don't think I need to worry), the Egyptian Environment Ministry reported today that they have caught two sharks that are suspects in the maulings - a 2.25m shark weighing 150kg, and a 2.5m one that was 250kg!! That's incredible - and so, so scary. Mohammed Salem, director of Sinai Conservation, reported that Egypt usually only sees 1-2 shark attacks a year, and this is four in two days!!