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. ktb515

    A shark boat named Laminade catches a true member of the shark Family Lamnidae. Go figure.

    July 21, 2011 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Lise

      Dude, it strikes me as amazing that you can't sort out it's a joke – a portmanteau of the fish and the drink? There's a reason the ship is not called, for instance, "car_car_a_don"? Maybe I should get me a big limo with tinted glass and a vanity plate, and some cotton balls too . . .

      July 21, 2011 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. bendeguz

    Two days later the very same shark ate a preschooler and his mom. Congratulations shark researchers!

    July 21, 2011 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Nobody N. Particular

      You've been watching Jaws too much. The shark you need to worry about is the bull shark, those b@5t@rds can swim up rivers, and are incredible aggressive.

      July 21, 2011 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
    • seter16

      Your ridiculous....go sharks!!

      July 21, 2011 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
    • noitdidnot

      and then the Casey Anthony jury found it innocent and it swam away. Link CNN articles.... GO!

      P.S. Pix or it didnt happen

      July 21, 2011 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. Lindalou

    Boy they thought Asian Carp were going to be a problem!

    July 21, 2011 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. Laureth

    The shark sounds suicidal.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
    • JasonP

      LOL. Seriously. Two suicide attempts!!

      July 21, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. Nemo

    Ummmm.....shark fin soup!!!!!

    July 21, 2011 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar

    So the shark jumps onto the boat, then tries to commit suicide. Might I suggest a fish shrink?

    July 21, 2011 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. Kris

    Haha... The shark must've gone through a rough breakup with his shark lady-friend or something.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. John

    Someone needs to donate funds for a true research boat for this bunch. That rig looks like a crusty old pleasure boat from a junkyard.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Daddio

      MMMMM....Marge, shark steaks

      July 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. neumanme

    Please tell me that no one on the crew had just eat a Peanut Butter Snickers!

    July 21, 2011 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. Fox Mulder

    We're gonna need a bigger boat...

    July 21, 2011 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Dana Scully

      Honestly, I'm skeptical. 😉

      July 21, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mary Bennett

    What an awesome story!

    July 21, 2011 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. an9nymouse

    An interesting twist on 'jumping the shark'.....

    July 21, 2011 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
  13. bud

    Jeez let the shark die with dignity already. He was clearly looking to make a spectacular exit from this life.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. Rick

    "Enrico Gennari and Ryan Johnson, tried to walk the animal into deeper water" Enrico Gennari and Ryan Johnson have the biggest balls on that side of the equator.

    July 21, 2011 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. Carcharodon

    Is this what they mean by "Jumping the shark"?

    July 21, 2011 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
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