Three British tourists have been confirmed dead after a fire broke out aboard a diving boat off Egypt’s Red Sea coast. The tour operator confirmed the deaths a day after the three tourists were declared missing.
Twelve other divers and 14 crew, including the captain of the diving boat Hurricane, were rescued after abandoning the ship on Sunday morning. The group had sailed to a popular diving spot 30 kilometres from the resort town of Marsa Alam.
According to tour operator Scuba Travel and Tornado Marine Fleet, a fire broke out at 8.30 am local time during a diving briefing. “It is with great regret that we, as the tour operator, with heavy hearts, must accept that three of our much-valued dive guests who had not participated in the dive briefing, early on the morning of 11 June, perished in the tragic incident,” a spokesperson said.
“The severity of the fire meant that the 12 divers were immediately evacuated by boat to another craft nearby and the 14 crew members, including the captain and two dive guides, having tried to reach the missing guests, also had to abandon ship and were rescued,” the spokesperson said. “The dive boat ‘Hurricane’ is currently being towed to a port, yet to be nominated, as the vessel is still smouldering with cooling required before entry,” the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, the general secretary of the Red Sea Governate Mohamed Bendary, said that preliminary investigations suggested the blaze originated in the engine room. The Hurricane is a liveaboard vessel, designed to accommodate tourists for days at a time. When the fire occurred, the group had arranged to stay on the boat for a week.
The 12 rescued divers were taken to a village north of Marsa Alam, where they received medical attention. According to Scuba UK, the group was receiving consular assistance to return to the UK after all of their personal possessions, including passports, were destroyed in the fire onboard the Hurricane.