A group of marine researchers attempting to lure sharks close to their boat for a better look were a little too successful at the task earlier this week when a 10-foot-long great white leapt onto their boat.
The theme park-like incident occurred near Seal Island off the coast of South Africa, where the crew was observing several sharks as part of their research.
“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 food bait] on the port side,” Dorien Schroeder, the study's team leader, told the Guardian.
Schroeder said she managed to pull her colleague to safety before the half-ton shark landed and became trapped on the boat’s deck between containers and the stern.
The crew called in a second boat to try to pull the shark back into the water but those efforts failed. The research vessel then returned to port and the shark was released back into the water, only to end up beached shortly after. Rescuers, however, were eventually able to rescue the great white once and for all by towing it back out to sea.
The researchers believe the shark probably mistook the vessel’s shadow for prey. Although a researcher was almost squished under the white shark, the scientists showed total understanding for its behavior: “The shark was panicky but no one’s life was in danger,” Schroder told South African Times Live.