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.

“Next 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,” 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. Canadian Genius

    The shark was a refugee. It was seeking political asylum. It didn't want to be a shark anymore. It wanted to be a marine biologist instead. Poor guy.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • rowan

      rofl id rather be a shark.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Yurrp

      I think the shark has made a poor decision. Most marine biologists are 1 paycheck(if they get one) away from da welfare.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Geoff

      Ouch. I AM a marine biologist, and I'm at least TWO checks away from welfare. But then again, they did forget to pay me this month...

      July 21, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. MaryInBoise

    Thanks for the laugh. 🙂

    July 20, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jimmy

    yeah. it was a dum post. it wasnt about doodie or boogers or nuthin.

    July 20, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. fernace

    If sharks are gay you dudes better stay out of the water! I hear even the female sharks are not fond of the males claspers! Lol! Y'all probably don't know what I'm talking about, so look it up, I'll wait!!:)

    July 20, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gung hoe

    Poor sharks thinking Really guys i have my sunscreen on and just tryin to do a little relaxin in the sun and these idiots keep throwin in the water

    July 20, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Frank Sausage

    They should have killed and ate it. Yum! The only good shark is a dead one, and hopefully it's on my plate with some slaw, corn bread, and french fries.

    July 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • AreWeTherYet

      Frank and MadOld Lady – you 2 should kill and eat each other. It'd be nice to weed out the lowest common denominator from the gene pool. You're both morons, and the only good moron is a dead one.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • xavier M, Austin, Tx.

      you are a child Mr. Sausage. We'd all love to have you turned into chum and fed to the sharks.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      And I hope one day a large enough shark bites you to cause massive blood lose and death. We could use less morons in the gene pool.

      July 30, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mad Ole Lady

    I agree with ya Frank. That is some good tasting fish. Heck we could have fed a lot of homeless people with that.

    July 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ashley

    So he was a little over zealous for the upcoming Shark Week:) Glad everyone was okay and bravo to the team for making sure the shark was okay too!

    July 20, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Name (required)

    I wonder what show is going to be cancelled?

    July 20, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jahuz

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rb9hWpVYbN4&w=640&h=360]

    July 21, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. jerk

    That shark went on to kill a family of four. And so the circle is complete.

    July 21, 2011 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. scorpioman

    I think it was just tired of swimming for the last 1,000 miles and just wanted to hitch a ride all the way
    to Ausie land. : )

    July 21, 2011 at 2:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. Alfred R

    Has anyone noticed that there is no human on that side of the boat! This was coup attempt 🙂

    July 21, 2011 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    One takes a calculated risk going out on any boat. You know that sharks are out there, and you might become a hits-the-spot meal.
    I traveled on a ship, the Fulvia, that later sank. That was my first cruise.
    I travel on airplanes all the time for work. I perceive the USA as the size of an annoying postcard that I fly over. So far, I've gotten off every plane safely.
    Every boat ride is a calculated risk...
    Just as every sperm is sacred.

    July 21, 2011 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
  15. rachbell

    Very cool story. Too many very stupid remarks here. No wonder so many people of the world hate Americans. We don't represent ourselves in a very good light with comments like these [and on other news websites.].

    July 21, 2011 at 6:37 am | Report abuse |
    • rowan

      i found the story very cool too. as for comments, does it matter? ye gods lighten up and have a bit of fun.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
    • megan

      rachbell, I agree with you! Some comments are so immature and off subject.

      July 21, 2011 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
    • cjm71

      You realizw that the comments posted here and on other sites are not only from Americans, don't you? In particular, try reading some of the articels in the World section, and you will find very divergent opinions from other nationalalities. I think that it is a great forum to get peopl of thwe world to share their thoughts, opimions etc., and can help people undestand one another.

      July 27, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
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