Added by Monique Robinson on December 6, 2010
The two sharks that were behind the unprecedented attacks on swimmers off a popular beach resort have been caught, Egyptian authorities said on Thursday.
The attacks, which were separate incidents, saw three Russians and one Ukrainian bitten by the sharks while swimming off Sharm el-Sheikh; a resort that attracts between three and four million tourists every year.
The individual sharks had reportedly been identified with the help of witnesses; the oceanic whitetip who was involved in the first attack was filmed by divers as he surfaced to attack the swimmers. The second shark was a short-finned mako; a slender blue shark recognized by its pointed snout.
Shark biologist Samuel Gruber said that mako sharks have been involved in previous attacks in the area; “Several years ago a German tourist had her breasts bit off. Very, very bizarre,” he told AFP.
What made the latest attacks stand out was that it is very unusual for a shark to attack more than one person in a day; even more, for that to happen two days in a row is almost a “Jaws scenario” Gruber said, referring to a 70’s horror about a serial killer great white.
Gruber added that trying to understand the cause behind a shark attack is “scientifically impossible”, but Governor Mohammed Abdel Fadil Shosha said he thought the attacks could be related to dead livestock being dumped by a ship nearby.
Magdi al-Alwani, environmental expert, said the sharks may have been forced closer to shore as a result of overfishing. Another possibility is that one, or both, was hit by a boat and ended up disoriented.
Shosha and Environment Minister Magid George are still debating the fate of one of the sharks; whether to release it back into the wild or whether to put it on display.