Egyptian authorities say three British nationals are missing after a scuba diving boat they were cruising in caught fire off Egypt’s Red Sea coastline on Sunday.

In a short statement, Egypt’s Red Sea Governate said 12 crew members and 12 British tourists were rescued when a medium-sized scuba diving boat, christened “Hurricane,” went up in flames off the southern Red Sea resort town of Marsa Alam.

A search party was launched to find the remaining three British tourists whose identities were not revealed.

Following an initial examination of the vessel, Egyptian authorities said, “an electrical short circuit in the boat’s engine room sparked the blaze.”

Britain’s Foreign Office said that it was in contact with the Egyptian authorities and is “supporting the British nationals involved.”

Fatal boat accidents are uncommon in Egypt. In 2021 a boat capsized in a lake near Egypt’s Mediterranean city of Alexandria, leaving at least five people dead, including three children.

In 1991, the Egyptian ferry, Salem Express — sailing from Saudi Arabia to Egypt — sank killing as many as 471 people, mostly Muslim pilgrims.

Egypt’s Red Sea resorts harbour some of the country’s most renowned beach destinations and are popular with European holiday goers. It has cemented its reputation as a dive destination with easy access to coral reefs from shores and dive sites offering diverse marine life.

In recent years, Egypt has gone to great lengths to bolster its tourism industry, hurt by years of political instability, COVID-19 and the negative economic effect of the war in Ukraine.

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