Great white sharks are the largest, scariest predators in the sea. But they should stay in the sea. One shark didn't last week, and decided to see what it was like on a research boat.

It's not uncommon for sharks to leap out of the water when hunting seals, but it's pretty uncommon for them to end up on boats. But a group of researchers undertaking a shark population study off the coast of South Africa last week were treated the unusual experience when one shark sprang up from the ocean, more or less directed at one crew member throwing chum into the water.

The researcher escaped the shark, but the shark didn't quite clear the boat, and in fact managed to make its position even worse, "thrashing" so that its entire body ended up on board—in the process rendering the boat immobile.

The researchers were forced to call in a second boat—all the while pouring water on the sharks gills—in an attempt to pull it off the deck; when that didn't work, the boat was towed back to harbor and a crane placed the shark back in the water. And still this idiot shark couldn't figure it out:

Though the shark swam away it was unable to navigate its way out of the harbour and soon beached. With Oceans Research's co-director, Enrico Gennari, an expert on great white sharks, the team tried unsuccessfully to "walk" the shark back to sea. Finally they tied ropes to the shark's tail fin and behind its pectoral fin, and attached these ties to the rescue vessel, which towed the shark out through the harbour estuary. The ropes were then removed and the animal swam away.

[Guardian; image via AP]