Tourist boat catches fire at Red Sea, three passengers missing

Three British tourists have been declared missing after a motor boat suddenly caught fire on Sunday as it traveled along the Egyptian Red Sea.

According to a statement from the Red Sea State governor’s office and two security sources, twenty-six people, including 12 Egyptian crew and guides, were rescued from the boat, which was just off the coast of Marsa Alam.

The survivors were brought to safety in the nearby diving resort of Marsa Shagra, about 21km (13 miles) north of Marsa Alam. All survivors are said to have been unharmed.

Reports say the fire, said to have started at around 06:30 local time, was caused by an electrical fault. Images posted on social media showed the white motor boat, with the name ‘Hurricane’ inscribed on its body, catching flames at sea, with thick smoke billowing into the sky.

The Red Sea Governorate local authority said initial examinations had found an electrical short circuit in the engine room.

The public prosecution office has begun an investigation into the incident.

An eyewitness said the fire happened while the crew was doing the diving briefing at Elphinstone Reef – a diving destination known for its wealth of marine life including colorful corals and sharks.

“We saw smoke from the boat, it was around 9km from the beach,” said Ahmed Maher, a diving manager at Marsa Shagra village. “A nearby boat rescued them and dropped them off.”

The Red Sea is a popular resort for diving trips. “This is really bad news for the [Egyptian] tourism industry,” said BBC News correspondent Sally Nabil. “They depend on tourism, particularly British tourism.”

The British Foreign Office said it was supporting British nationals involved.

A spokesperson said: “We are in contact with local authorities following an incident aboard a dive boat near Marsa Alam, and are supporting British nationals involved.”

Umar Ali
As editor in chief, I am always on the road, searching for hidden gems, undiscovered waterfalls, enticing hikes to explore, underrated delis, and more. Crafting compelling content that captures the true essence of each place is my passion. With years of experience in travel journalism, I strive to provide unbiased and factual content based on my real-life experiences. When I'm not out exploring, you can find me delving into local markets and devouring new foods, immersing myself in the cultures and communities that make each destination unique. It might sound like a tough job, but I love it!

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