CAIRO: In less than a minute, a floating restaurant sank in the Nile, which is part of the Sofitel Hotel in the Zamalek district in central Cairo.
“I was sitting on the opposite terrace having tea and smoking with my friends and at first I thought there was a fight, then I thought someone drowned and then we heard a bang, then suddenly the deck started sinking in a way that reminded me of the Titanic movie,” a British tourist who witnessed the incident told Arab News.
The importance of the floating restaurant does not stop at the distinctiveness of its location, but also with the association of its name with many public figures, politicians and celebrities who used to visit it.
It is a fixed floating boat in front of the Sofitel Hotel, which was the former Sheraton El Gezirah, built in 1984. This limited floating space occupied one of the best locations overlooking the Nile at the other end of Zamalek Island, facing the Garden City neighborhood on the other side.
The floating restaurant has always been characterized by its simplicity and fame at the same time. It was a meeting point for many famous writers, artists and politicians. Among them are the artist Sabah, Wadih Al-Safi, the writer Lutfi Al-Khouli, Dr. Osama Ilbaz the famous late politician, Ahmed Qaddaf Al-Dam The famous Libyan politician, and other Egyptian and Arab celebrities.
The 1980s were the time of the heyday for "Paradise", the name of the boat at the time, where a number of VIPs had fixed places.
In the past, its name was Paradise paradise, and its name changed after the hotel’s management and ownership changed, so the name of the hotel became Sofitel and the name of the floating restaurant became Le Deck. But it still possesses the same beauty features as the site and attracts seekers of beauty and distinction.
All this remained until Saturday evening, at eight and two minutes in the evening, when those close to the floating restaurant heard a strange sound, followed by one of its sides, and then began to sink into the water until it disappeared in fifty seconds.