Mexican tourist killed in Egypt air strike

  • 18/09/2015

A Mexican tourist who survived an air strike in Egypt has recalled a harrowing three-hour bombing that killed eight compatriots, including her husband.

Susan Calderon's dramatic account was published in the El Universal newspaper on Thursday, hours before she and five other survivors headed home on a Mexican government plane with the foreign minister.

Survivors have told Mexican diplomats that they came under fire from an aeroplane and helicopters in Sunday's attack, which was condemned by President Enrique Pena Nieto, who demanded a swift investigation.

"You could see the viciousness with which they came and went... We were bombed about five times, always from the air. It all lasted some three hours," said Calderon, who was wounded in both arms.

Her husband, Luis Barajas, was one of the eight Mexican tourists who died in the attack, alongside four Egyptian guides.

"There was nowhere to hide, nowhere to run... I don't know if it was rockets or bombs or whatever," said Calderon, who was applying sunscreen on her husband when the tourist convoy came under fire during a lunch break.

He was found alive when rescue workers arrived, she said.

"I saw my husband when they put me on a stretcher to take me to the hospital. I heard him tell me he loved me, and I told him I do too. And then I heard nothing from him again," Calderon said.

"It was supposed to be the trip of our lives."

The six survivors left a Cairo hospital where they had been treated for wounds and boarded the Mexican presidential plane with Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu.

Ruiz Massieu came to Cairo demanding answers on the attack, which saw Egyptian security forces target the tourists in the Western Desert after mistaking them for militants.

The incident has proven embarrassing for Egypt, which relies heavily on tourism revenues.

At a news conference with Ruiz Massieu on Wednesday, her Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry vowed a "transparent" investigation.

But the state prosecutor, whose office handles investigations, has placed a gag order on reporting details of the probe, the official MENA news agency reported.

Egypt said the tourists had entered a restricted area in the Western Desert and were "mistakenly" killed as security forces chased jihadists who had abducted and beheaded an Egyptian.