Citizens defy governor’s decision, swim in Nakheel beach

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Wed, 25 Jul 2018 - 06:30 GMT

Caption: FILE - Holidaymakers swim beside a sign that says “No swimming” - Egypt Today

Caption: FILE - Holidaymakers swim beside a sign that says “No swimming” - Egypt Today

CAIRO - 25 July 2018: Holidaymakers in Alexandria city ignored the warnings against swimming in Agami’s Al-Nakheel (Palm) beach and took a dip in the deadly beach. The governor ordered the beach closed on Tuesday until further notice.

Al-Nakheel beach is one of Egypt's most dangerous seashores. Governor of Alexandria Mohamed Sultan ordered its closure due to the increase in cases of drowning.

Head of 6th October City in Alexandria Mohamed al-Nuby said the reason citizens insist on swimming in the beach is it being the cheapest amongst Alexandria’s other beaches.

“Citizens are defying all the warnings and closure signs in the place, and if they are told to leave, they refuse and start turning it into chaos,” Nuby told Egypt Today on Tuesday. “The beach is their only affordable resort; they can’t afford going North Coast (upscale beach) or to other expensive beaches in Alexandria.”

There are 26 beach rescuers and four jet skis at Al-Nakheel beach, according to the general manager of the beach Mohamed Fathy, adding that most drowning accidents take place at 5 a.m. when rescuers have not yet started their shifts. Rescuers work from sunrise until sunset, he added.

Meanwhile, director of the beach Wagdy Saber excluded executing the governor’s decision, since the beach is always open for citizens with no gates, which allows 250,000 holidaymakers daily.

Alexandria governor ordered officials to take all legal procedures to close what people name the “deathly beach,” and prevent citizens from entering the beach or swimming in it.

Sultan said that a committee from the Egyptian Public Authority for Shore Protection will be sent to check the beach and the sea barriers, and take required procedures to protect citizens and help stop drowning incidents at the beach.

More than 20 people reportedly died in recent months while swimming at Al-Nakheel beach.

Sultan earlier in July remarked that 10 people were swept far into the sea by the stream; six of them drowned, and only one body was found, while four other people could be saved.

He had announced that the beach may be closed due to the volatility of the waves and whirlpools, which cause an increase in drowning cases.

In a telephone call with “DMC Evening” TV program, Sultan referred that most of those who drowned are not from Alexandria, and did not follow safety and security guidelines.

Previously, many Parliamentarians called on the government to close Al-Nakheel beach in Alexandria where many deaths had taken place, stating that this beach annually ends the lives of “dozens of young people” because the rough rocks on the beach create dangerous currents and cause drowning.

Earlier, a number of social media users launched a campaign called “Close Al-Nakheel Beach,” in which they warned people about the dangers of swimming at that beach, stating that no rescue divers are found there.

Alexandrian beaches have witnessed large waves since Sunday, causing great difficulty for swimmers especially in beaches that do not have wave barriers.

Major General Ahmed Hijazi, head of the Central Administration of Tourism and Resorts, told Egypt Today that the drowning cases happened after the working hours of the beaches’ divers at 5 a.m., and some of the cases swam in rocky places that were not suitable for swimming such as the area below San Stefano Bridge. He advised vacationers to swim during divers’ working hours, which start at 6 a.m.

To prevent more drowning cases, Hijazi remarked that a cooperation protocol is signed with the Faculty of Nursing to provide a paramedic at each beach, in addition to the protocol signed with the Faculty of Physical Education that makes scuba divers available as seasonal workers.

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