[Guardian] Marine researchers in South Africa had a narrow escape after a three-metre-long great white shark breached the surface of the sea and leapt into their boat, becoming trapped on deck for more than an hour.
The incident occurred while the research team was conducting a shark population study off Seal Island, near Mossel Bay, on South Africa’s Cape coast.
Using sardines as bait to attract the predators, the seven-strong crew was able to observe four great whites. The animals are renowned locally for bursting through the surface as they prey on seals.
Dorien Schröder, team leader at Oceans Research, based at Mossel Bay, said that last Monday morning, after more than an hour of shark activity around the vessel, the Cheetah, the waters at the stern had been quiet for five minutes. “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,” she said.