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A distraught Russian father has told of his horror at watching his son be mauled to death by a ‘meat grinder’ tiger shark at an Egyptian resort as he screamed out: ‘Papa, save me!’
Yury Popov was forced to watch helplessly from the shore as the predator circled his son Vladimir, 23, before dragging him under water in the resort of Hurghada in an attack that he claimed lasted 20 seconds.
Holidaymakers scrambled from the water as horrified onlookers called out to Vladimir to swim away from the shark before he was mauled to death.
The tiger shark was then caught and dragged to land by boat before it was killed.
‘We went to the beach to relax,’ Mr Popov, originally from Russia, told the 112 media outlet. ‘My son was attacked by a shark, it all happened in seconds.’
Vladimir Popov was heard screaming ‘papa’ as he was mauled to death by a shark today in Egyptian resort Hurghada. Pictured: A still grab from a graphic video showing the attack. The shark’s fin can be seen just feet away from Vladimir as he attempts to swim away from the beast
Tourists watched in horror from the shore as the beast wounded Vladimir Popov before dragging him under the water
Holidaymakers scrambled from the water as horrified onlookers called out to Vladimir (pictured) to swim away from the shark before he was mauled to death
The heartbroken father said there were no family members near his son to help in the water, though initial reports said the 23-year-old’s girlfriend had managed to flee the attack.
‘What kind of help can you give? This meat grinder happened in 20 seconds, he was just dragged under the water,’ Mr Popov said.
The father said: ‘This is an absolutely ridiculous coincidence, because it is a safe beach. There are ships and yachts around. It’s never happened there. They usually attack on wild beaches. It’s just some kind of evil fate.’
Vladimir had been living with his father in Egypt for several months before the horrific attack. Mr Popov said he would cremate his son and return his ashes to their native Russia.
Video shows the tiger shark being caught and dragged ashore by a boat following the attack, and it appeared to be alive before being clubbed to death.
The Egyptian authorities confirmed the shark has been handed over for research to find out the causes of its behaviour and identify whether the animal is related to one that ’caused several previous accidents’.
Video taken by horrified onlookers shows Vladimir desperately shouting ‘Papa, Papa’ as the predator circled him in the water before launching the attack.
The victim Vladimir Popov (pictured) had moved to the resort with his father several months before the attack
The shark was later caught and clubbed to death on the beach (pictured)
The 23-year-old can be seen desperately trying to swim towards the shore to no avail. His body is seen spinning in the water, and his legs are raised above the surface.
‘Swim away, swim away! Quick! A shark!’ people can be heard shouting in the video.
Soon the splashing in the water stops, and the man’s head returns to the surface. He appears to be moving around in the water again but slowly.
He can be heard screaming ‘Papa’, pleading for help, as the water turns red.
The shark’s body is seen clearly at the surface at the moment, and its fin and tail are visible as it circles the victim.
The shark turns around again to attack and charges at the victim before clamping its jaws around him and pulling him under water.
The man’s head appears above the water one last time, and the shark’s body is seen writhing in the ocean as it appears to maul the body and drag it further into the depths of the water.
One witness said: ‘The shark’s eating his remains now. There she is, eating his remains.’ Another said: ‘Right in front of my eyes, the shark ate the guy, the girl [the girlfriend] managed to escape. He took the blow from the shark.
‘It’s a terrible thing, the remains of this man are lying there.’
‘Children swam [in the area where the shark attacked] very often – there were children’s slides,’ another witness said.
‘All this happened not far from a descent into the sea, next to the ladder, used by everyone who went into the water.
‘At one point, the shark appeared, and immediately bit this man. Rescuers saw this and began to start the boat. He tried to swim away from the shark, but he couldn’t.
‘And the shark dragged the body for two hours. It constantly dragged him under the water.’
Witnesses said the victim’s girlfriend had been in the water at the time of the attack. Russian reports say she is safe and has returned to Russia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed the death of a citizen from a shark attack.
The 23-year-old is not the first victim to be killed by a shark at the resort.
In July last year, 68-year-old Austrian Elisabeth Sauer was attacked in front of horrified onlookers at a resort in Sahl Hasheesh – 15 minutes after English speaking guests warned Egyptian lifeguards about sharks and their warnings had been laughed off.
The resort is a 30-minute drive from Hurghada, where Vladimir was killed.
A second woman – identified only as a Romanian national in her 40s – is thought to have been killed in a similar attack just 650ft away from where Ms Sauer died, with her badly disfigured remains found on a nearby reef the same day.
Ms Sauer lost an arm and a leg in an attack that was caught on film, as onlookers tried to distract the shark and get her to safety.
She reached the shore with the help of a flipper, but died a short time later.
Reports at the time – from news agency AFP and Austrian news outlets – pointed to the attack being committed by a Mako shark, while local Egyptian newspapers named the animal as an Oceanic whitetip shark.