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. Tonelok

    Cool story, I'm glad they didn't just shoot the shark like authorities did to the jaguar yesturday. Conservation at its finest.

    July 21, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Jackie

      Theres a difference. If the shark was biting at someone's neck, they probably would have shot it. The Jaguar critically injured a man.

      July 21, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. Roca

    He was just playing out the scene in Jaws when Bruce hopes up into the boat and eats up the captain!

    July 21, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. BessBoll


    July 21, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sammy

    Its's funny how with any little thread, or post or whatever, total stangers start insulting each other saying nasty things and just show so much hate to their fellow man. Why all the hate?! People act so foolish sometimes....

    July 21, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bill

    The shark needs a therapist as it is clearly suicidal.

    July 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • keith

      legendary comment,shart needs therapy

      July 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tias

    "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"

    I really hope they had an anchor out on the research vessel and weren't just towing it via shark tail; I'm also a biology person and bad at physics but sheesh, come on guys.

    July 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terre

      I guess you Tias is the the authority when it comes to this! LOL

      July 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. blackheld

    These guys need a bigger boat.

    July 21, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • gina

      Now that's funny!!

      July 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Corwin7

    Sorry BessBoll...but being intelligent enough to understand cause and effect does not make one an idiot...and being legal has absolutely no bearing on being right or smart.

    July 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Oh

    Admission: I clicked on this link expecting to see members of the band Great White standing on a boat, dripping wet.

    July 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mikey

    Sounds like the shark was going through a rough patch. Or he's thinkin 'I'm not a shark...I'm Dan!! The gypsy's curse came true!!'

    July 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Farmer Dave


    Not the article, the responses.

    I hunt and fish and I think they did the right thing by throwing it back.

    I have no desire to kill any of my fellow predators. Herbivores are much more tasty.;-)

    July 21, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BobCat

    HeadLine... fisherman chokes on Fur, lol

    July 21, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ed Peterson

    numerology for Dorien Schroder:

    July 21, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bobgrant

    And the other sharks look at each other and Say Hey Fred you are a ass*** telling sam the humans would pet him and then take turns letting him bite them.

    July 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. CaptainObvious

    This shark was a hybrid and WE BLEW IT!!!!!!!!! Isn't it obvious!!!! It wanted to be ridden, just imagine the Navy Seals riding into battle with scuba tanks on the back of Great white sharks, Way to go Azzhole reaserchers YOU BLEW IT!!!!!

    July 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
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