A researcher poised to tag a great white shark got more than he bargained for over the weekend, when the shark leaped at his feet with its jaws open.
Video of the moment was posted Monday on Facebook and it shows shark expert Dr. Greg Skomal clearly caught off guard as he hung over a pulpit fastened to the bow of the boat.
“Ho! Holy crap,” Skomal yells, as the shark falls away. “It jumped right out of the water.”
Skomal can be seen hopping back, as if to keep the shark from biting his feet.
The minute-long video, which has gotten nearly 80,000 views in the past day, was posted by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. The incident happened off the coast of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, the Facebook post said.
Conservancy officials said they have received “multiple reports” from boaters and fishermen of great white sharks jumping out of the waters off the Massachusetts coast. No explanation was given for the incidents.
“While encounters like this one are rare, this video shows that they’re certainly possible,” said the conservancy’s post.
“White sharks are wild and unpredictable animals. This is a good reminder of the importance of not becoming complacent and always staying vigilant when in or on the water.”
The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries said the video was shot with a GoPro attached to a painter’s pole.
Great white sharks can get up to 20 feet long, and have powerful tails that enable them to swim up to 15 mph and breach the water during an attack, says National Geographic.