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Egypt: Three British tourists missing after boat fire in the Red Sea

A search-and-rescue operation is underway after a diving boat caught fire off Egypt's coast
A still image of the scene moments after the boat catches fire off the coast of Egypt and passengers jump overboard to escape the flames (Social media)

Three British tourists are reportedly missing after an Egyptian tourist boat caught fire on Sunday during a diving trip that saw passengers jumping from the burning vessel.

Twenty-four other people were rescued from the boat, named Hurricane, with Egyptian police saying the people rescued had no injuries and were in good health.

Authorities said initial reports suggested the fire was a result of an electrical fault.

Footage circulating online showed the boat's stern being engulfed in flames as black smoke billowed from the ship.

The Red Sea governorate said in an official statement that "the initial examination resulted in an electrical short circuit in the engine room, and the investigation authorities went to conduct an inspection and investigation".

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"We saw smoke from the boat, it was around 9km [away] from the beach," said Ahmed Maher, a diving manager at Marsa Shagra village, according to Reuters.

This is the second incident that has hit Egypt's tourism industry in so many days.

Earlier this week a Russian man died after being mauled by a shark off one of Egypt's Red Sea resorts.

In a video that has since gone viral a man is seen thrashing about in the water before being repeatedly attacked by a shark circling around him, then being dragged under.

A diver who arrived on the scene shortly after was not able to reach the victim in time. 

Shark attacks in Egypt are rare, but incidents in the past decade have caused panic and made tourists avoid some of the beaches where such attacks have happened. 

In July 2022, two tourists, an Austrian and a Romanian, were killed by a shark near Hurghada.

Egypt's Red Sea resorts boast some of the country's most spectacular beach destinations and are popular with European tourists. 

The latest incident comes as the peak summer tourism season starts. Egypt has in recent years sought to revive the vital tourism sector, hurt by years of political instability, the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

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