Great white jumps on to research boat
The 1,100-pound great white shark sits in the stern of a South African research boat.
July 20th, 2011
01:15 PM ET

Great white jumps on to research boat

Shark researchers in South Africa didn't have to go far Tuesday to find a specimen - a 10-foot great white shark leaped into the back of their boat. And rather than a story of the big one that got away, this is a story of a big one they couldn't get rid of.

The boat, from Ocean's Research in Mossel Bay on South Africa's southern coast between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, was chumming in the waters around Seal Island and monitoring the activity of four sharks as part of an ongoing study, researchers reported on their blog.

‚ÄúNext thing I know I hear a splash, and see a white shark breach out of the water from the¬†side of the boat hovering, literally, over the crewmember who was chumming on the boat's port side,‚ÄĚ field specialist Dorien Schroder wrote on the blog. He pulled the crewmember to safety while others jumped out of the way of the 1,100-pound shark.

Schroder said the shark landed with only half of its body on the boat, and the crew hoped it would slide off. This shark, however, wanted to hang around.

The shark thrashed about and became stuck in a 5-by-6.5-foot area on the stern of the boat, cutting the vessel's fuel lines in the process.

Schroder's crew on the Cheetah radioed for help from other researchers aboard the boat Laminade. Schroder poured water on the shark's gills to keep it alive as they waited 15 minutes for help to arrive. Researchers then tied a rope around the shark's tail and tried to use the Laminade to pull it off the Cheetah to no avail.

After the Laminade towed the Cheetah back to port, a water hose was inserted into the shark's mouth to keep it alive as a fishing boat used its crane to lift the animal by its tail and drop it in the harbor.

Shark tale over, right? Not quite.

About a half hour later, the researchers found the shark beached on a small area in the harbor.

Two researchers, Enrico Gennari and Ryan Johnson, tried to walk the animal into deeper water. The shark was having none of it, but the researchers weren't about to give up.

The attached ropes from their boat to the shark's tail and pectoral fins, tilted its head up so its gills could work properly, and towed it about a half-mile outside the harbor, where the shark regained strength and swam away.

Researchers were satisfied.

"It is impossible to predict everything that can happen," they said on the blog. "What is important is how you respond to such situation. No one was injured and the shark survived, this is a credit to our team, the port authorities and members of the community who assisted."

And they do have a whale of a shark story to tell their kids.

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Filed under: Animals • Sharks • South Africa
soundoff (343 Responses)
  1. Wow

    Sharks can fly now?

    July 21, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. concerned citizen

    Jaws?

    July 21, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    He was trying to donate his body to science...

    July 21, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. Patrish

    Wow, now that is a story. Glad it was research vessel, otherwise, he could have ended up as shark soup! I always like it when wild creatures are saved.

    July 21, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. aabbcc112233

    Would the shark have seen so nice if it was the other way around with one of the researchers falling in the water?

    July 21, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • 2tired2care

      You must be a republican.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe Cox

      It's nice to be at the top of the food chain, right?? If you want to keep it that way then stay out of the water. Enough said.

      July 21, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  6. ohsnap

    Daaaaaaaaaaaah Dah. Dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.

    July 21, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. RussHeim

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Golf to the team that kept the shark alive.

    July 21, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Raaj

    That is an awesome story. Good job! I am sure the shark thanks you all in its own way.

    July 21, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. mo

    Oh, look who wants a hug!? Chomp!

    July 21, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. Roberto

    lol he wanted to become a human thats why he refused to be put back!

    July 21, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  11. Sharky

    Them scientists make good eating ! nomnomnom

    July 21, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  12. nononsense

    "Schroder's crew on the Cheetah radioed for help from other researchers aboard the boat..."

    Isn't that spelled 'Scheider'?

    July 21, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. R A Williams

    It's The Little Mermaid! With teeth!

    July 21, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jonah and the Shark. (not "whale")

    A "fish" swallowed Jonah. And since whales are not fish, it couldn't have been a whale that swallowed him. It could have been an apple that Adam and Eve ate though, apples are "fruit". (Moses' wife was black for sure though)

    July 21, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Anarchizt

      OMG I just lold till i peed. Crazy-ass.

      July 21, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kevin

    Counsel merely wished to confer with his client... this is plainly covered by attorney/client privilege!

    July 21, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
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