Three British nationals missing after boat caught fire in Red Sea are dead, tour operator says

Cairo, June 12 (BNA): Three Britons are missing after a diving boat they were on caught fire in the Red Sea off the Egyptian coast, according to a British tourism company, Monday.

According to the Associated Press, the Egyptian authorities said that the three were missing when a medium-sized scuba vessel named “Hurricane” caught fire off the southern Red Sea city of Marsa Alam on Sunday. They said the fire was caused by a short circuit in the boat’s engine room.

“We must accept that three of our highly regarded guests, who did not take part in the scuba diving conference early on the morning of June 11, have perished in the tragic accident,” UK-based Scuba Travel said in a short statement.

The company did not mention how it determined the killing of the three, and the Egyptian authorities only said that they were missing. Scuba Travel did not name all three.

A further 12 British divers and 14 Egyptian crew members were evacuated Sunday morning from the ship in a rescue operation near Elphinstone Reef, Scuba Travel said in a short statement. She added that all 15 of the tourists were qualified divers on the one-week cruise.

“At the time the fire broke out, 12 divers were taking part in a press briefing on board the ship, while the missing apparently decided not to dive that morning,” the statement said.

Scuba Travel spokesperson Pat Adamson told The Associated Press that the tour operator was unable to provide any details about the whereabouts of the three guests when the fire broke out at 8:30 a.m. local time Sunday or the location of the bodies. However, he said it was only normal for guests to opt for an early morning dip during the week-long trips.

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Adamson said the tour company had not received any confirmation from the Egyptian authorities that an investigation team had boarded the boat. The company is waiting for a full investigation.

Egypt’s Red Sea coast contains some of the country’s most popular beach destinations and is popular with European holiday-goers. It has cemented its reputation as a diving destination with easy access to coral reefs from the beaches and dive sites that offer diverse marine life.

In recent years, Egypt has made great efforts to boost its tourism industry, which has been affected by years of political instability, COVID-19 and the negative economic impact of the war in Ukraine.


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