6:47pm

Thu July 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Off South African Coast, Great White Shark Panics, Jumps Into Research Boat

Originally published on Thu July 21, 2011 7:01 pm

Imagine this: A group of researchers off the coast of South Africa were trying to lure great white sharks to their boat when suddenly one them flies out of the water and, plop!, lands in the back part of the boat.

The shark was 9 feet long and the the boat about 26 feet. NPR's Michele Norris spoke to Dorien Schroeder, a team leader with Ocean's Research, who said at first the shark was stressed and rolling around.

But here's the remarkable part: Schroeder said she only panicked for that moment she saw the shark in the air close to one of her interns. Her instinct kicked in, so she moved the intern out of the way and then she thought, "OK, now I just need to get a white shark out of the boat."

Schroeder said her next moves had everything to do with saving the shark. Her team put some jeans over the shark's eyes to keep her calm and immediately began pouring water over her gills to keep her breathing.

She said the experience was nothing like the movie Jaws. It was instead a shark, probably spooked by another shark, that made a terrible mistake.

Except, "She happened to land in a boat of people that love white sharks with all their hearts."

The shark was taken back to port and removed by a crane. She was OK. And the crew was out the next day.

Note that we've posted the as-aired version of this interview at the top of this post.

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