Fatal shark attack victim’s final words to husband before ‘arm torn off’ snorkelling in Red Sea

Fatal shark attack victim’s final words to husband before ‘arm torn off’ snorkelling in Red Sea
·3 min read

A shark attack victim killed while snorkelling in Egypt told her husband “I’ll go back in for a moment”, just moments before she was mauled.

The Austrian woman, who died after having her arm and leg torn off near the popular resort of Hurghada, has been named as 68-year-old former councillor Elisabeth Sauer.

She was seen walking in shallow water not far from the beach after reportedly telling her partner, an Austrian of Egyptian descent: “I’ll go back in for a moment.”

A video shared widely online - reportedly of the attack, but which The Independent could not verify - appeared to show Ms Sauer attempting to swim ashore as bystanders threw a flotation device towards her from a pier.

She is believed to have been attacked by a Mako or Oceanic whitetip shark at the popular bay of Sahl Hasheesh on the Red Sea coast on Friday.

Paying tribute, the local Green Party in Kramsach wrote on Facebook: “We mourn the passing of our Elisabeth Sauer (68), who died through a tragic accident! Our deepest condolences go out to the family!

“Elisabeth was a committed Green from the first hour in Kramsach, councillor from 1998 - 2004, for many years loyal substitute councillor and GR - candidate! May she rest in peace!

“We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere condolences and compassion. She will forever be remembered for her warm and humanly connecting way.”

The victim was taken to a private hospital immediately after the attack but died from circulatory failure - a sudden drop in blood pressure resulting from her injuries and blood loss - according to a source at the Red Sea Health Affairs Directorate.

Empty sunbeds are seen during a low tide at the beach of the Red Sea resort of Sahl Hasheesh, Hurghada (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters/file image)
Empty sunbeds are seen during a low tide at the beach of the Red Sea resort of Sahl Hasheesh, Hurghada (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters/file image)

Some reports say the Austrian woman was a tourist who had been visiting Egypt with her partner and was due to return home on Sunday, while others claim she had been living in Egypt for the past five years with her Egyptian husband.

On Sunday, it emerged a second woman died in a separate shark attack just 650ft away from Ms Sauer.

The victim of the second attack has not been named but she is believed to have been a Romanian tourist.

The Romanian Foreign Ministry said it was working to identify the victim, notify the family and see the body repatriated.

Egypt’s Red Sea Governorate issued an order to shut down several Red Sea beaches on Saturday, banning water activities including diving, snorkelling, wind surfing and kite sailing. Fishing boats were also banned from the waters off Hurghada.

Shark attacks have been relatively rare in Egypt’s Red Sea coastal region in recent years.

Tourists snorkelling near a beach of the Red Sea resort of Sahl Hasheesh, Hurghada, in January 2020 (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters/File image)
Tourists snorkelling near a beach of the Red Sea resort of Sahl Hasheesh, Hurghada, in January 2020 (Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters/File image)

In 2020, a young Ukrainian boy lost an arm and an Egyptian tour guide lost a leg in a shark attack.

In 2010, a spate of shark attacks killed one European tourist and maimed several others off Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula, across the Red Sea from Hurghada.

Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, including Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, are some of the country’s major beach destinations and are popular with European tourists.

Divers are drawn by the steep drop-offs of coral reefs just offshore that offer a rich and colourful sea life.

Additional reporting by agencies