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. CPW

    Is that a 3 pointer? Kudos to the Shark!

    July 21, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. MannyMota

    Congrats to the crew for not giving up on the shark and doing everything they could to keep it alive. Well done.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Jesus

      Tenacious researchers saved this shark's life.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Dirk Waldon

      Should have taken it to 'SEA WORLD and put it in the same tank with that giant Killer Whale that alledgely killed (3) people. I'm just saying! Let the awesome effect....

      July 21, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. JAWS 2 was better than the Original

    If a great white shark leaped into my boat I would literally crap my pants I think

    July 21, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Oh Terrance!

      July 21, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Random

      And that might help with your chumming!

      July 21, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • trp48

      I would probably crap in your pants too if that happened to me.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. HK

    What a nasty comment. Your mother should wash your mouth with a giant size soap.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. HK

    Loved the story. Thanks CNN.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. J

    Awesome that they were so resilient in helping that shark to survive. Sounds like it took quite an effort.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. AreWeTherYet

    Good for them! They did the right thing – Even though I'm sure they were "nervous" about handling an angry Great White, they went above and beyond to save it. The world needs more people with that kind of dedication. God Bless 'em.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. sharklover

    great story

    July 21, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. Don_J

    ... so now Kenny (the shark),Enrico, Ryan and the rest of the guys are buds... they'll be at Kenny's place for dinner next week.

    July 21, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    "You're going to need a bigger boat."

    July 21, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. oh_lol

    kudos to the guy who volunteered to go near the sharks mouth with a hose

    July 21, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  12. Brian

    What a waste of resources to keep a dumb animal alive. Next they're going to say they need more funding.

    July 21, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Victor

      The same could be said about people like you. It's an article about wildlife not politics. Take your soapbox and get out.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Margot707

      Did your parents stint on your education or were you just born

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

      Actually, the shark is far more intelligent than you are...his kind has been around for millions of years. As for you, I doubt seriously if you will make it past puberty.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Because I think they're wasting money I'm uneducated, a child and on a soapbox? Says more about you than me. Anyway, I just think it would be better spent. People are suffering and we don't need to take money that good be put to better use. Let a shark die.

      July 21, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ousal Dove

    Now won't those people be proud of themselves when that shark attacks someone kid on the beach and kills the kid !!!!
    MORONS !!!!

    July 21, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Usually people are safe from sharks on the beach. But this one seems to like being out of the water, so you may be on to something...

      July 21, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff

    Looks like they needed a bigger boat...

    July 21, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  15. Marco

    I honestly don't understand this excessive sentimentality over a fish that isn't even on an endangered list. Kill it and have enough shark steaks in the freezer for months. Seriously, if you don't like this explain exactly why you don't like it.

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

      Great White Sharks are in fact on the endangered species list.

      August 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
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