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. Bird

    Maybe the shark was trying to commit suicide???

    July 21, 2011 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • LRoy

      Mr. Jaws, why are you grabbing my hand?

      July 21, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • steeve-o

      Maybe he was trying to evolve...

      July 21, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Jezzmn

      Evolve, among humans? I doubt it.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  2. Shark 2

    Beachball, anyone? Then I can have you for lunch.. What fun!

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

    We're gonna need a bigger boat...

    July 21, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. Hello

    All that and one picture?

    July 21, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  5. LetsFixIT

    Well – I would have handled that quite differently!

    July 21, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • GoBlue

      yeh you would of stood there crapping your pants and peeing on yourself until you died from dehydration.

      July 21, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. Shawn

    That story and all we get is one crappy picture?!?,

    July 21, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. Laylah

    Poor Shark - he was on a suicide mission, but nooooooooooooooooo they just had to keep resuscitating him! Shark must be like - damnnnn – can yah just LEAVE ME ALONE!!!

    July 21, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. Marie

    Yes Joe! There are many similar tragedies out there as well. The Calderon Dolphins face misfortune in Denmark every year. They are slaughtered as a statement of manhood for young boys. We obviously have had much publicity in the past few years on the whale killings from the tv show Whale Wars, but that is another incident. Another great tragedy is the bludgening of Harper seals in Canada. It blows my mind how we do have the capacity to help the world around us as Anya said but we chose to show superiority in the most inhumane ways. I hope one day we can learn that the balance of the world relies on all of its species to live and function properly.

    July 21, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Louisiana

      There is nothing wrong with killing animals in a sustainable manor.

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

      If you do research on the issues I discussed, there is nothing sustainable about it.

      July 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Shark!

    I'm a shark! I'm a shark! I'M A SHARK! Suck my *@#! I'm a Shark!

    July 21, 2011 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  10. Disgrace

    This just in. Surfer eaten by large 10 foot shark off the coast of South Africa!

    July 21, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. miz

    gave him self to science.

    July 21, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. GoBlue

    That's the last thing we need is the worlds most dangerous predator evolving into a flying air breathing boat piloting species.

    July 21, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • lk

      ...wrong...WE (aka humans) are the world's most dangerous predators.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jonathan

    Ever think maybe the shark had no friends and just wanted to spend some quality time with someone.

    July 21, 2011 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. DP

    Some scientists. Every little kid knows if you feed a wild animal it might try to follow you home.

    July 21, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kimberly Nichols

    Are we talking to animals or are the animals talking to us!!!!

    July 21, 2011 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
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