Visitors to the Marina resort on Egypt's north coast were suprised on Tuesday to find a small whale swimming through the resort's waterways.
The creature apparently entered the resort's maze of waterways from the Mediterranean and then had trouble finding its way out again.
According to eyewitnesses, the appearance of the whale caused some concern among swimmers, particularly when it leapt out of the water.
Hamada Goueida, a real-estate broker from the area said, “The whale is pretty small. It jumped out of the water. People nearby panicked and most were then afraid to go back into the water."
A video showing the whale swimming around the resort's waterways was uploaded onto Facebook, allegedly causing concern in other resorts, with people fearing that they might also encounter a whale on their Eid holiday swim.
The video was posted on a Facebook page under the title “Lovers of fishing in Alexandria”.
However, General Ahmed Hegazy, the head of Central Administration of Tourism and Beaches, said on Tuesday that claims of a whale along the north coast are false. People are simply trying to cause fear by spreading false rumors, he said.
Assuming it exists, the species of the whale at the Marina resort has not been identified. However, there are a number of whale species in the Mediterranean, including fin whales, pilot whales, sperm whales, killer whales and humpback whales.
Whales occasionally venture into the shallow waters off Egypt's coast, with some washing up dead on shore. In May, a dead sperm whale was washed up on the beach close to Marsa Matrouh.
Worldwide, whales face a number of threats to their existence, including overfishing, pollution and the use of naval technologies such as sonar that can damage the ears, brains and other tissues of whales, causing them to beach and die.
In many cases, whales swimming close to shore are seeking to avoid harmful sonar waves, say scientists.
In the past year, the US Navy agreed to limit its use of sonar in certain areas in order to reduce damage to whales, dolphins and other marine animals sensitive to such technolgies.