Egypt’s ‘beach of death’ claims its latest victim

Egypt’s ‘beach of death’ claims its latest victim

CAIRO (Rahnuma) : No one knows the reason for the high number of drowning cases in Palm Beach, Alexandria — a popular city waterfront that some have called the “beach of death.”

More than 20 people have drowned at the beach in recent months, with two deaths in the past week.
The latest victim, 27-year-old Ibrahim Saad Ahmed, was a worker from Egypt’s Dakahlia province.

Ahmed’s father said that his son was swept away by the strong current and drowned.

A student drowned at the same beach late last week, but his body has not been recovered.

Palm Beach, which was built by Egypt’s armed forces as a resort for its officers, “is one of Alexandria’s most beautiful beaches, but it is the most dangerous,” according to Salma Al-Jundi, a doctor who owns an apartment there.

Ahmed Essam, an engineering student and a member of the association that runs the beach, has called for an increase in the number of lifeguards as well as warning signs on suitable hours for swimming.

Some vacationers swim at times when swimming is prohibited, such as dawn and after sunset.

Essam believes that the large number of drowning cases can be explained by the fact that many beachgoers are not Alexandrians, and are less experienced swimmers.

Meanwhile, officials at the beach deny there is a problem. Brig. Mahmoud Abdel Hamid, a member of the board of directors of the October 6 Association, which runs Palm Beach, said that about 1.5 million people visit the waterfront during the holiday seasons.

The association is committed “to providing all means of safety,” he said.

The Palm Beach administration posted news of the recent drowning cases on its Facebook page, and urged people to swim only during allotted times.

The Alexandria governorate also issued a warning, with the governor, Sultan Sultan, saying he would consider closing the beach after the rise in the number of drownings.

The beach has 23 lifeguards, two supervisors and three jet-ski operators to cover a 1,850-meter stretch of beach. They work from 8 a.m. to sunset.

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