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. J

    Sounds like the shark wanted to commit suicide! This bad economy is affecting EVERYONE...."whale of a shark story"...HA. Good one CNN.

    July 20, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mmmmm

    LOL, The shark thought they were on the drive thru menu...

    July 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sharky

    Awwww I wish I was there!!!!!!!!

    July 20, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bobcat2u

    Research ? I'll show you some research. Has anyone eaten a snicker ?

    July 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • peacefreak77

      that was a really terrible Snickers commercial... but apparently prescient?

      July 20, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roca

      i liked dat commercial–c'mon not that bad

      July 21, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. CandyBee

    Wow. This is an amazing tale. That the shark survived is beyond reasonable imagination. Good for everybody concerned. Sadly, a beutiful leopard in India was not so lucky.

    July 20, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • dhondi

      leopard are jerks.

      July 20, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dondhi

      Can't you spell your name right? Geez..

      July 20, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • MaryInBoise

      And dhondi is a bigger jerk.

      July 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ElvisMA

    I bet that was the same shark who leaped up at scuba diver handing on the helicopter...

    Geesh. Sounds like my nightmare...

    July 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      LOL I really hope that was sarcasm of you mentioning the photo of the shark and the helicopter since it was a doctored photo.

      July 30, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. CSnSC

    Seen a 10ft. Bull shark under my boat. My boat isnt rated for one on it !

    July 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Scott Pilgrim beat The World

    I bet it was a male shark.

    And they said white men

    *puts on sunglasses*

    couldn't jump.


    July 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. justathought

    Most people would have wanted to kill it–think I would have.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. justathought

    Think of this great white telling his grandkids the story of the one that got away.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    Nothing like having your research subject up close and personal! I'm glad that they were able to save the shark from dying. Sharks have had a very bad rep ever since "Jaws."

    July 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dang

    I herd the guys on the boat were all nekked and the shark jumped in it trying to get at their weeeiners. Everyone knows sharks are gay.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • my name

      I'm sorry- what?! Are you 12?

      July 28, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MikeB

    I think they're going to need a bigger boat.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dang

    Im with you dhondi. Leopards are mean. I bet leopards are gay like sharks. Leopards and sharks like weeeiners.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • MaryInBoise

      This is the most intelligent comment in the history of the innernetz. Not.

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

    If a leopard tried to get my weeiner I would yell really loud and say NO. BAD LEOPARD !

    July 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
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