Great White Shark Jumps onto Boat off South Africa’s Cape Coast

Neal J Leitereg's picture

Getting the biggest shock of their lives, no doubt, marine researchers off the coast of South Africa had an up close encounter with an almost 10-foot great white shark. How close? The shark jumped out of the water and directly onto the deck of the researchers’ boat.

While the idea of a great white shark in close proximity is enough to terrify most, the researchers on the boat are convinced it was not an attack.

Co-director of Oceans Research and expert on great white sharks, Enrico Gennari explained that, given the low-visibility in the water, it was most likely an accident caused by the shark mistaking the boat as prey or another shark spooking the great white in question.

The team leader on the boat, Dorien Schröder of Oceans Research, gave this dramatic account of the shark’s landing:

“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 crew member who was chumming [throwing foot bait] on the port side.”

The crew members began actively tending to the great white shark as they charted a course back to the port. Schröder poured water over the gills of the shark to keep it breathing.

When they reached port after a failed attempt to get the shark back in the water, a hosepipe was used to ventilate the shark’s gills. A crane was then used to place the great white back into the water.

Unfortunately, the team’s first rescue effort was unsuccessful and the shark ended up beached after it failed to make its way out of the harbor.

After an attempt to “walk” the great white back into the water, they towed it out of the harbor and into deep water. The great white shark finally swam away on its own accord.

This is the first known instance of a great white shark jumping onto a research boat. Lucky for the team, their boat was big enough to hold an animal of that magnitude. Gennari commented that a smaller boat surely would have capsized.

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

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