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msnbc.com news services
updated 7/20/2011 11:35:43 AM ET 2011-07-20T15:35:43

In the words of "Jaws" scientist Matt Hooper, "This is not a boat accident!"

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According to the Cape Times, six researchers from South Africa are reflecting on what they describe as the fright of their lives after their own close encounter with a great white shark.

The research team from Oceans Research was working off Seal Island, near Mossel Bay, on South Africa's Cape coast, when the nearly 10-foot-long creature reportedly made its move.

Team leader Dorien Schroder told the newspaper that following more than an hour of shark activity around their boat, the Cheetah, the waters at the stern fell quiet.

"Next thing, I hear a splash and see a great white breach out of the water from one side of the boat hovering, literally, over a crew member chumming on the port side," she reportedly said.

According to Schroder, the shark landed with half its body in the boat, but in a panic, thrashed its way further onto the vessel, cutting fuel lines and damaging equipment.

As the team scampered toward a safer portion of the boat, the shark reportedly became stuck.

Shark scientist Ryan Johnson and Oceans Research co-director Enrico Gennari raced to the scene to help the stricken boat, but despite their assistance, initial attempts to remove the beast reportedly failed.

With more boats now in the fight, the group reportedly tried to yank the shark off the Cheetah by tying a rope from another vessel around the shark's tail, but the beast didn't budge.

Throughout the whole affair, the researchers did all they could to keep the shark alive.

Oceans Research marketing director Cassie Heil told the Cape Times that water was sprayed into the shark’s mouth to ventilate its gills during the rescue efforts.

The Cheetah — with shark still aboard — was towed to the harbor, where the great white shark was reportedly lifted from the boat with a crane, then placed back in its native environment.

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"The shark immediately began thrashing as soon as it hit the water," Heil reportedly told the Cape Times.

Still disoriented from its time out of the water, the shark was unable to find its way out of the harbor, and reportedly beached itself.

Johnson's team guided the shark to safety by tying ropes around it and towing it out through the harbor. Once the ropes were removed, the great white reportedly swam away.

"About a kilometer from the harbor, the shark began to regain its orientation and strength and as the ropes were cut, it swam away powerfully," Heil told the Cape Times.

As for the boat, despite the damage is sustained during the attack, Heil reportedly said it'll be back out on the water sooner rather than later.

"This is the first time such a thing has happened to us. The Cheetah is damaged, but will be repaired and will be back in the water in a few days."

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