A young boy and a tour guide have had their limbs ripped off in an horrific shark attack off the coast of Egypt in a popular tourist destination.
A 12-year-old boy, his mum and a tour guide were among a group of six attacked as they snorkelled in the Red Sea on Sunday, according to local reports.
The group were swimming with a local guide in the Ras Muhammud reef at Sharm-El-Sheikh when three of the group were mauled, according to Al Alrabiya.
Egypt’s Environment Ministry said three people were injured in the attack on Sunday.
Officials said the group were forced to climb onto a coral reef to flee the attack.
But the shark continued mauling three of the swimmers, including the child, the Ministry said.
They were plucked from the water and rushed to hospital where they are being treated for their injuries, it added.
Officials said the shark was believed to be a two-metre long oceanic whitetip.
Ukraine’s State Agency for Tourism Development said a 12-year-old national and his mother were attacked.
Surgeons had tried to re-attach the boy’s arm, but it could not be saved, a statement said according to Unian.
A diver who had been working nearby the attack site that day had shown a video to the Ministry of a similarly-sized female shark acting aggressively.
Officials closed the area of Ras Mohammed National Park where the attack took place.
There has been a string of attacks along that stretch of coastline in recent years.
In December 2010, a series of people were attacked by sharks in shallow waters at Sharm-El-Sheikh.
Three Russians and one Ukrainian were seriously injured within minutes of each other in one incident.
Four days later a German woman was killed in another attack.
The attacks had a disastrous effect on the local tourism industry.
Officials were stunned by the ‘unprecedented’ series of attacks, and launched an investigation.
Theories including concerns overfishing in the area was driving the sharks to desperation, or that animal carcasses were being dumped in the waters and luring the predators.
Fatal attacks by oceanic whitetips are rare.
However they have been implicated in attacks o shipwreck survivors.