Three missing British passengers who were on a diving boat that caught fire in Egypt have died, a tour operator has confirmed.
A spokesman for Scuba Travel said: “It is with great regret that we, as tour operator, with heavy hearts, must accept that three of our much-valued dive guests, perished in the tragic incident.
“Our sincere and heartfelt condolences go out to their families and friends at this very sad time.”
In a statement, the company said the three passengers were among 15 qualified diving enthusiasts who were on a week’s stay on board the “Hurricane” dive boat when the fire broke out at around 8:30am local time (6:30am UK time) on Sunday.
A search had been under way for the three divers following the fire which broke out while the boat was off the Elphinstone Reef in the Red Sea.
“At the time the fire broke out, 12 divers were participating in a briefing on board, while those missing had apparently decided not to dive that morning.”
According to Scuba Travel, the severity of the fire meant that 12 of the divers were immediately evacuated to another craft nearby and the 14 crew members also had to abandon ship after trying to reach the missing guests.
All the 12 guests who were taken off the dive ship went ashore to Marsa Shagra where they were provided with any medical attention required and gave statements to the local police.
A full investigation into the cause of the fire will be carried out by police and local authorities.
Authorities said initial reports suggested the fire was due to an electrical fault.
The “Hurricane” is being towed to a yet to be decided port as it is still smouldering and will need to cool down before entry.
It is understood that the Foreign and Commonwealth Department has contacted the families of the divers who died.