Watch: Great White Shark Breaches Water Right Below Researcher's Feet

While researchers with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy were on a research trip off the coast of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, a great white shark made a surprise breach—right underneath one of the researcher’s feet.

In a video posted on Facebook, one researcher, Dr. Greg Skomal, is standing on a platform over the water and holding a pole used to put a locator tag on an animal, while another researcher drives the boat. The driver is heard saying, “I think I see him,” in reference to the shark and various comments about the location of the shark are heard coming in over the radio.

About 40 seconds into the video, Skomal lifts his feet up and hurries a few steps back towards the boat as a great white shark jumps out of the air and opens his mouth wide right underneath where the researcher was standing.

“Holy crap! It jumped right out of the water,” the man driving the boat yells in the video.

Skomal adds, “It came right out and opened his mouth right at my feet.”

great white shark breaches under researcher A great white shark breached the water's surface right below researcher Dr. Greg Skomal on Monday. The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy

Breaching is when a shark launches itself out of the water, usually when it's hunting, in an effort to catch fast-moving prey, according to the Smithsonian Institution. Sharks can propel themselves 10 feet into the air and reach 40 miles per hour during a breach.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy wrote on Facebook that the organization has seen great white sharks breaching on previous research trips and received reports from fishermen and boaters who have also observed the behavior. Breaching is a rare occurrence for sharks because of the amount of energy required to complete the action, but the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy explained that the video shows that clearly, it’s possible.

“White sharks are wild and unpredictable animals,” the organization wrote on Facebook. “This is a good reminder of the importance of not becoming complacent and always staying vigilant when in or on the water.”

Wellfleet is located about 34 miles from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where lifeguards ushered beachgoers out of the water on July 27 after a great white shark was spotted devouring a seal near a group of surfers, according to Twitter user Ken Martin, who filmed the incident.

It’s not entirely uncommon for great white sharks to be spotted in New England in the summertime and a Rhode Island fisherman accidentally caught a white shark in his fishing net on July 29. The shark was still alive when it was lifted onto the boat in the net and the crew quickly released the shark back into the water.

On Monday, Skomal was able to tag a shark that was about 12 feet in length off the coast of Monomoy, which is part of Nantucket, Massachusetts, the Atlantic Shark Conservancy shared on Twitter. It was the eighth tag of the season.

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