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. Mark

    Candy gram.

    July 21, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      ha – that's funny. i rarely ever lol.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Like

      July 21, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • ronnie

      bawwwhahahahahahahahahahha

      July 21, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. mr2kool

    its jabber jaw! he was just trying to find his gang guys!

    July 21, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Kimberly Nichols

    OR he was saying HOw many idiots I have today. I did a wink with the sea. Get back to work!!!!!!! Professionals I see wrongs who will research ethics in law and order.

    July 21, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. GoBlue

    This proves Evolution. The sharks tossed this one shark into the boat as a distraction to the scientist and while they were fooling around with him the other sharks went back to hiding their Nuclear research materials.

    July 21, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      More likely there was something scarier than the shark in the water… like Kirstie Alley. Nom nom nom

      July 21, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sherman's Lagoon

    He was craving something different and was in one of those exotic food tasting moods...

    July 21, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. OhWhatFun

    Candygram...

    July 21, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  7. Al Gore

    Awesome

    July 21, 2011 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    That shark is awesome. Instead of jumping the shark, the shark jumped the boat.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. jamief3

    He was looking for another Steve, the ones that taste like peanut butter.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. The sharks

    Thanks for giving us our little brother back.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  11. The sharks

    You know, you people are ok. As thanks, we won't eat any of you. Today.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. Amanda

    He knew Discovery Channel's Shark Week is in 10 days and wanted in on the action!!!

    July 21, 2011 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. Max

    Great story, great effort by that team to keep the shark alive. But I agree, more pictures would have been nice.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  14. TheGlow

    Way to disrupt the natural selection process. Jumping into the boat, yea, that can be considered a freak accident. The shark then beaches itself; yea, it's best if it vacates the gene pool immediately.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. Gary D.

    WHY do they need to be chumming for them "NEAR SEAL ISLAND?" Isn't it bad enough that the seals have to deal with the sharks, but also to deal with "researchers" changing the shark's behavior too?

    July 21, 2011 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
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