British tourists missing after boat fire in Egypt’s Red Sea

Adeyemi Adeyemi

Global Courant

Egyptian authorities say an electrical short circuit sparked a fire on a submarine carrying 15 tourists and 12 crew members near Marsa Alam.

Three British nationals are missing after a submarine they were cruising caught fire off the coast of Egypt’s Red Sea.

In a brief statement on Sunday, Egypt’s Red Sea Governorate said 12 crew members and 12 British tourists were rescued when a medium-sized submarine dubbed “Hurricane” went up in flames near the southern Red Sea resort of Marsa Alam.

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A search was launched to find the remaining three British tourists, whose identities were not revealed.

After an initial investigation of the ship, Egyptian authorities said: “An electrical short circuit in the boat’s engine room caused the fire”.

The boat was on a six-day cruise and was due to return on Sunday when the fire broke out about 25 km north of Marsa Alam.

The British Foreign Office said it is in contact with Egyptian authorities and “supports the British nationals concerned”.

Unusual in Egypt

Footage posted to social media showed a white motor yacht of the same name on fire at sea, with thick clouds of smoke billowing into the sky.

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“We saw smoke coming from the boat, it was about 9 km (6 miles) from the beach,” said Ahmed Maher, a dive manager in Marsa Shagra village. “A nearby boat rescued and dropped them off.”

Fatal boat accidents are rare in Egypt. In 2021, a boat capsized in a lake near the Egyptian Mediterranean city of Alexandria, killing at least five people, including three children.

In 1991, an Egyptian ferry called Salem Express – sailing from Saudi Arabia to Egypt – sank, killing as many as 471 people, mostly Muslim pilgrims.

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Egypt’s Red Sea resorts are home to some of the country’s most renowned beach destinations and are popular with European vacationers. The area has cemented its reputation as a scuba diving destination with easy access to coral reefs from shore and dive sites with diverse marine life.

In recent years, Egypt has gone to great lengths to bolster its tourism industry, hurt by years of political instability, COVID-19 and the negative economic impact of the war in Ukraine.

Egypt’s tourism industry employs two million people and generates more than 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

On Thursday, a Russian tourist was killed by a shark in the waters off the Egyptian city of Hurghada on the Red Sea.

British tourists missing after boat fire in Egypt’s Red Sea

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