A rubber boat is one of last places in the world you’d want to be when a hungry shark is on the loose. But that’s just where these German tourists found themselves when a 12ft Great White shark decided to attack.
With just a few bites, the female’s serrated teeth tore through the rubber rim, causing the boat to partially deflate.
Tour operator Rainer Schimpf says: ‘It sounded like someone hit the pontoons with a knife, the air went out immediately. One guy shouted, “Oh my God, it’s eating the boat. Is it stupid?”
They were more excited than scared.’
The group had been on a sightseeing tour off the coast of Mossel Bay in South Africa.
We did not use any bait to attract the shark,’ says Rainer, who runs Expert-Tours. ‘We were cruising around the sea looking for seals when it arrived.
‘Everyone was really excited to see the shark so we turned around. It cruised around the boat and on the second turn it went in to bite. Everyone was stunned.
‘It took a huge chunk out of the side and then disappeared,’ continues Rainer. ‘In my opinion the shark mistook the rubber boat for a whale carcass. Once it realised its mistake it stopped. I then started the engines and slowly drove away.’
Rainer says the semi-ridged rubber boat was never in danger of sinking but had been left unbalanced. He said he thought it was better to leave the area because of the increased risk of someone falling in to the water – as well as to repair the £2,000 worth of damage to the boat.
‘On the five-mile ride back to port everyone said it was like something out of Jaws – it was truly the trip of a lifetime.’