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Great White Shark Jumps Into Research Boat Off South African Coast

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A great white shark, similar to the one pictured here, had to be removed from a South African boat using a crane and ropes. | Getty Images

Researchers observing great white sharks on South Africa's Cape Coast ended up slightly closer to their subject than they probably hoped.

The team of scientists from Oceans Research was conducting a shark population study on Monday in the waters off Seal Island, located near Mossel Bay, when around 8:30 am, the waters calmed for about five minutes.

Dorien Schroder, team leader, described to the Cape Times what happened next: "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."

According to the Guardian, the nine-foot, half-ton shark found itself flailing across the vessel, destroying equipment and struggling to return to the water.

Researchers used a hose to keep the shark hydrated during the hour-long period before rescue workers could attend to the crew and return the shark to the water using ropes and a crane.

Perhaps if the research team had used music from AC/DC's "Back In Black" album -- shown to be preferred listening for great whites, according to an Australian study -- instead of fish bait to attract the sharks, they would have avoided the uninvited boat guest.

This isn't the first time a shark has startled humans with its jumping abilities. Just last month, a shark jumped out of the waves and over a surfer at New Smyrna Beach, in Florida. And a husband-and-wife photography team has spent years in Africa capturing images of the great white shark "flying" up to ten feet from the ocean to snatch its prey.

For more on great white sharks, check out this video from National Geographic:

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