The remains of a Russian tourist who was killed by a shark in Egypt have been recovered after the predator was caught and dissected.
Vladimir Popov, 23, screamed ‘papa, save me’ as he was mauled to death in front of his dad and other beachgoers off the Red Sea resort of Hurghada.
The tiger shark devoured the top half of the victim’s body during the attack but was then scared off as fishermen approached on a boat to try and rescue him.
They pulled the bottom half of his body out of the water and chased the shark until they were able to capture it, according to local authorities.
Egypt’s environment ministry ordered its examination by local marine biologists to try and understand its aggression and extract the rest of Mr Popov’s body.
According to Hassan Al-Tayeb, head of Hurghada’s Maritime Rescue Association, the victim’s head, arms and upper torso were found in the shark’s body and had not been extensively digested.
The animal was a four-metre long female, weighing around a ton, and had a mouth opening of 80cm (2.6 feet), Mr Al-Tayeb added.
A ‘large number’ of fetuses were said to have been found in the shark’s womb, lending weight to theories that it was exhibiting a known pattern of behaviour in which pregnant females aggressively clear out potential threats from a chosen birthing spot.
Interviewed on Egyptian TV, Dr Mahmoud Dar, a professor at the Egyptian National Institute of Marine Sciences, explained there are ‘three cases’ in which sharks are known to swim near the shore.
‘The first is when some boats throw dead animals into the water, and the second case is when the boat owners provide food to sharks, which changes the nature of their nutrition’, he said.
The third case is when pregnant female sharks approaching birth move to shallower waters to avoid males and other natural threats.
Dr Dar continued: ‘The shark implements its natural instinct by placing its newborns in a safe place, and if it finds any living creature, whether human or otherwise, it goes into a state of agitation and attacks it, because it feels threatened’.
During this time, the animal is said to enter state of ‘nervous excitement’ and does not eat until it gives birth.
The killer shark may have been just a day away from giving birth and inspecting the area for threats, he added.
Although it’s extremely rare for sharks to attack in the coastal regions of the Red Sea, an Austrian and a Romanian tourist were killed within days of each other last year.
Mr Popov’s grieving father, Yury, said his son’s death was an ‘absolutely ridiculous coincidence’ suffered at the hands of an ‘evil fate’.
Tiger sharks are one of the larger shark species that can grow to over five metres. The live in mostly tropical and temperate waters and are among the most cited by the International Shark Attack File for unprovoked attacks on humans.
This article by Sam Courtney-Guy was first published by Metro on 13 June 2023. Lead Image: The shark was caught and dissected to try and understand its unusual behaviour (Picture: E2W).
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