Ukrainian rescues tourist attacked by shark in Egypt

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Ukrainian entrepreneur Mykhailo Voloshyn has for sure achieved more during his vacation this summer than he could have planned – he saved a fellow tourist from a shark.

Voloshyn, 50, helped a tourist from Austria to get out of the water after she was attacked by a shark at one of the beaches in Marsa Alam, a town in south-eastern Egypt, on Aug. 5.

While everyone at the beach was panicking, and local rescue service slow to take action, another Ukrainian resting on the beach, Yuriy Biletskyi, raised the alarm and made other swimmers leave the water.

“Everyone was shocked,” Biletskyi, 30, told the Kyiv Post. “Blood was all around.”

Biletskyi heads a department in the State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Kyiv. He was on vacation with his family.

Voloshyn from Uzhgorod, a city in western Ukraine, came to Egypt with his wife.

That day both ended up at one of the most popular local beaches, known for its coral reefs.

Voloshyn was swimming in the sea when he spotted an injured woman who was screaming. It was a vacationer from Austria who had just got bitten in the stomach by a shark.

Voloshyn rushed to help her. The woman grabbed his neck and he pulled her out of the water to the pier.

The Kyiv Post could not reach Voloshyn for comment.

At that moment Biletskyi, who was at the same beach with his family, heard people screaming.

“We saw a woman covered in blood being taken away,” he said.

Biletskyi saw that some people were still swimming and understood they could be attacked, too. According to him, the local rescue service whistled to warn people, but it was barely heard because of loud music.

Biletskyi and his family decided to alarm the swimmers on their own.

“We started shouting at them to get out of the water because there was a big shark,” he said.

Violetta Yaremenko, another Ukrainian who witnessed the incident, said that the injured woman was taken to a hospital in Hurghada, around 280 kilometers from Marsa Alam.

Yaremenko said that the hotel staff told her the woman survived the accident.

While there are several species of sharks in the Red Sea, their population is declining and shark attacks are rare. Only 34 attacks were recorded in Egypt since the mid-19th century, according to the Shark Attack Data website.

An unprecedented series of shark attacks took place in Sharm El Sheikh in 2010, leading to one death, several injuries and the closure of the resort’s beaches for one week. One of the injured tourists was Ukrainian.

And back in 2015, a German tourist was killed in a shark attack in Mars Alam, the same area where the attack of Aug. 5 occurred.

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