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. Wave

    crewmember steve, who was chumming on the port side, had just eaten a peanut butter snickers. hmmm

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

      hahaha, awesome!

      July 21, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda


      July 21, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah Michele

      Love that comment : )

      July 21, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Kylee

      I think that might be one of the best comments I've ever read on a news site.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr Sparkle

      >holds up scorecard<


      July 21, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • dayone09

      Absolutely great response. It is so sad to read people's reactions on CNN. The amount of frustration and angst in the world is out of control. But it takes just as much energy to pull something funny out of your sleeve. Nice work Wave.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • char

      lol – Really good.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Ohnoes

      LOL...I tip my hat to you good sir!

      July 21, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      "yeah Steve was delicious"

      July 21, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean


      July 21, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • puprplepuppy

      Ha ha Ha Ha.........................................

      July 21, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      "Eat both squares, please."

      July 21, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • VNG

      Very clever reply... we really love that commercial at our house!

      July 21, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Blaze


    July 21, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. NotYou

    Guess Jaws has a thing for similarly sounding last names... Dorien Schroder, Roy Scheider

    July 21, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sharky Shark n Funky Bunch

    I was just doin a little research of my own and realized i don't like science! I'll stick with more carnivorous activities

    July 21, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. Wildone

    "Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies......."

    July 21, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      "hers's to swimmin with bow legged women"

      July 21, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Got'em

      ..for I just received order's for to set sail for Boston...

      July 21, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • H in Texas

      Show me the way to go home, I'm tired and I wanna go to bed, I had a little drink about an hour ago and it went straight to my head.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. Linda

    next time they will make sure to take a "bigger boat"

    July 21, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Kylee

    Clearly, the shark was attempting to give himself up for science. You're vulnerable on the population scale, buddy. Get yo' self back in the water, go forth, and multiply.

    On a related note, I'm pretty sure I'm never going to go out boating on the ocean again.

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

    I'm glad the animal was rescued and the crew member who was chumming was pulled to safety and did not become part of the chum.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  9. JackT

    Tough shark!

    July 21, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. lharris

    Bravo to the crew for not giving up - wonderful that you saved the shark's life!

    July 21, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. steeve-o

    I'll volunteer for the task of putting the hose in the shark's mouth... not.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  12. Congress are Liars

    what's a chinerbloke?

    July 21, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • johkenn

      a chinerbloke is a dude from central asia

      July 21, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. oh_lol

    shut down comments after wave's. 5/5 lolololololo

    July 21, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. Sir William

    Lovely. Academia once again endangers the life of a noble animal in the name of "research."

    July 21, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • bob

      riiiight... because the researchers made it jump into the boat. good call, chum!

      July 21, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. durkaderp

    crewmember wesley likes sharks. he helped the shark off the boat. btw, where did he go?

    July 21, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
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