See a real-life Jaws experience startle shark researchers

In what's described as a rare encounter, a great white shark breaches right under a researcher's feet.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

Here's a litmus test for how you feel about sharks. Watch a video released Monday by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. If you jump out of your chair and run away, maybe you should reconsider that career change to marine biology.

The great white shark's jumping power is on full display in the video as it breaches the water right below where a researcher with a pole stands on a walkway that extends out from the ship. If you slow the video down, you can see the wide-open mouth gaping just below the researcher's boots. 

The scientist is Greg Skomal from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. He's holding a painter's pole with a GoPro camera mounted on the end to capture underwater video of the shark. 

The conservancy describes the above-water encounter as "rare." This assertion is backed up by the crew's reaction, which includes a lot of surprised shouting.

The occurrence happened off the coast of Wellfleet, Massachusetts. "While out on research trips, we've seen white sharks breach and we've received multiple reports of breaching white sharks this year from fishermen and boaters," the conservancy said.

The nonprofit Atlantic White Shark Conservancy is on a mission to support scientific research into white sharks while also promoting public safety, education and shark conservation. 

"This is a good reminder of the importance of not becoming complacent and always staying vigilant when in or on the water," the conservancy says, showing it has a remarkably chill attitude about the whole thing.

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