Sharks can be found in just about all the world’s oceans and seas. There are many kinds including the tiger shark, mako, hammerhead, and the ever famous great white shark. In the water shark attacks, however, are not commonplace. An even rarer event is a successful out-of-water attack. Sharks do not consider humans as food. Generally, the creature stays away from any people they encounter. It came as a shock to Mohammad Qatawneh, as such, to hear of an attack in the Gulf of Aqaba. A representative of the Aqaba Dive Center, evident surprise filled his voice as he spoke about a particular incident. He says that, for the region, it is the first shark attack he has heard of in his 20-year career as a diver. He knew there were plenty of sharks in the Red Sea. Until now, he considered the Gulf of Aqaba shark free.
The incident being referred to occurred in August of 2021. While in the Gulf, a Jordanian is seen being attacked while paragliding. As he hovered the waters, a shark lept out at him. It managed to bite the lower part of his leg. The bite took part of his foot, broke bones, and severed tendons. Sharks attacks in the Red Sea do happen. Most of these, however, are concentrated in and around the coast of Egypt. In October 2020, for example, a tour guide and a twelve-year-old Ukrainian boy were attacked in the Ras Mohammed national park of Sharm El-Shiekh. The boy was on a tour being conducted by the guide when they came across an Oceanic Whitetip. The shark took the boy’s arm and the guide’s leg. That following December, a 42-year-old German woman was attacked by a shark of the same type. So, while not commonplace, shark attacks do occur and most are aware of the possible danger when in the Red Sea waters.
However, Mohammed Khalil Al Zabada, of the College of Marine Sciences, said that it is highly unusual to hear of a shark attack in the Aqaba area. There are plenty of sharks, like the reef and guitar. None of these, however, are dangerous to human beings. Qatawneh, Al Zabada, and other sea-going experts find themselves pioneering new grouds with this particular case. They hope to have answers soon as the attack, as rare as it is, has created a bit of a panic in the region. To calm any fears, an investigation was established to determine what may have precipitated the attack and if it can be prevented in the future. Nayef Al Bakhit, of the Aqaba Special Zone Authority, confirms that the investigation’s end goal is to ensure that swimmers can enjoy the waters in the safest manner possible.