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. Shark

    I didn't die guys, I just wanted a cool beverage and a boat ride. Calm down everyone!!

    July 21, 2011 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Seal

      Well if you weren't trying to chase me and my family all day, maybe you could read a book on how to properly swim.

      July 21, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Half-Eaten Man

      I AM NOT A BEVERAGE

      July 21, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Shark's Wife

      You'll do anything to run away from your responsibilities! You need to take out the garbage when you get home! You missed Carrol's recital! nag nag nag nag nag nag nag!

      July 21, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Shark's Neglected Son

      Daddy, come home.

      July 21, 2011 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • The Walrus

      I got testin supplies for the hurt shark.

      July 21, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Matt

    Pippet! Here Pippet!

    July 21, 2011 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Russell

      HAHAHA..Pippett!! haha

      July 21, 2011 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Chief Brody

      I hate the water!

      July 21, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  3. maybesomeday

    That is an awesome, uplifting story. Good to hear- good job to all of those that helped the shark!

    July 21, 2011 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Why

      Why is this uplifting?

      July 21, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
    • John Doe

      Agreed. Very cool story! And it's uplifting because, for once, the humans didn't kill a living being.

      July 21, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Prometheus Unbound

      Uplifting because: "a fishing boat used its crane to lift the animal by its tail and drop it in the harbor." ...

      July 21, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. Marta

    Maybe he heard that 'Steve was delicious'!

    July 21, 2011 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Soulcatcher

      Maybe it was the peanut butter snickers he ate?

      July 21, 2011 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. hippypoet

    i was hoping for "i think we need a bigger boat" type thing but nothing... no worries, im glad the shark made it out ok, not to worried for the researchers tho.

    July 21, 2011 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. cutie

    dont u people watch the discovery channel in south africa they are known to jump out the water for seals , they are at fault for being there and the poor shark landed on there boat then they said it lived no way they said that so nobody blame them for being there....i have to go i have to watch jaws its been on repeat for about two months now on cable and i know just about all the people he ate by order....

    July 21, 2011 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
    • cutie

      cutie

      dont u people watch the discovery channel in south africa they are known to jump out the water for seals , they are at fault for being there and the poor shark landed on thier boat then they said it lived no way they said that so nobody blame them for being there....i have to go i have to watch jaws its been on repeat for about two months now on cable and i know just about all the people he ate by order....

      July 21, 2011 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. ashley

    so much for natural selection...

    July 21, 2011 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. brunoaltimino

    Now THAT's a fish story if I've ever heard one. Hilarious!!

    July 21, 2011 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  9. That Guy

    I would not have gone anywhere near that shark. Good to see the researchers didn't take a more violent approach.

    July 21, 2011 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  10. Chief Brody

    @Matt ~ that is an AWESOME reference! For mine, I will choose, "Smile you son of a ....." BOOM!

    July 21, 2011 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. Thor

    It's not like the darned thing is protected. Should've made steaks to feed the poor in South Africa... but nooooooo....

    July 21, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Conservationist

      @Thor
      Of course they are protected! Thousands are being killed in fishing nets and for fin soup (in Asia)

      July 21, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. Summer819

    Can't get a better fishing tale than that. Amazing work from everyone!

    July 21, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  13. maybesomeday

    @why- because it is nice to see that some people do care.

    July 21, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. Yahhoo

    I would have run it by the 'nine lives' factory for an interior inspection.

    July 21, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  15. Keyser

    Good. We need that shark. It is part of an elit team of an anti-scientific-hit-squad. The members of this team believe only in creationism and hate Obama(it's a great WHITE)....president Obama(they like the other Obama). The shark will be brought in for debriefing and we will follow up with another article.

    July 21, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
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