Three British tourists missing after boat caught fire off Egypt’s Red Sea coast, authorities say

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian authorities said three British nationals were missing after a scuba diving boat they were sailing in caught fire off Egypt’s Red Sea coast on Sunday.

In a brief statement, Egypt’s Red Sea Governorate said 12 crew members and 12 British tourists were rescued when a medium-sized scuba diving boat, dubbed ‘Hurricane’, caught fire offshore. from the resort town of Marsa Alam in the southern Red Sea.

A search party has been launched to find the three other British tourists whose identities have not been revealed.

After an initial examination of the ship, Egyptian authorities said that “an electrical short circuit in the engine room of the boat started the fire”.

The UK Foreign Office said it was in contact with the Egyptian authorities and “is supporting the UK nationals involved”.

Fatal boat accidents are rare in Egypt. In 2021, a boat capsized in a lake near the Mediterranean city of Alexandria in Egypt, killing at least five people, including three children.

In 1991, the Egyptian ferry Salem Express, which was sailing between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, sank, killing up to 471 people, mostly Muslim pilgrims.

Egypt’s Red Sea resorts are home to some of the country’s most renowned beach destinations and are popular with European holidaymakers. It has cemented its reputation as a diving destination with easy access to coral reefs from shore and dive sites offering diverse marine life.

In recent years, Egypt has gone to great lengths to bolster its tourism industry, hit by years of political instability, COVID-19 and the negative economic effects of war in Ukraine.

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