Cape Town - A local fishing boat crew got a bit more up close and personal than they liked with a four-metre great white shark on Saturday, after it launched itself on to their vessel off Strandfontein Beach, then rolled back into the sea – leaving them open-mouthed.

It was all too quick for any of the crew to collect themselves to take a picture of this toothy encounter, but on Saturday afternoon skipper Peter Swart, 58, was still shaken.

The Kalk Bay fisherman said he’d never seen anything like it in his 41 years at sea.

He and seven fishermen were aboard his 10m boat about two kilometres off the coast of Strandfontein on Saturday when the shark paid them a visit. He said they must have been in about 12m of water when the shark breached, landing on the cabin of his boat.

“The whole thing took about two seconds,” said Swart.

“The shark came straight out of the water. In my personal opinion I think the shark went for my friend’s child.” As the shark appeared, his friend had instinctively pulled back his 10-year-old son.

“The shark hit the top of the cabin. It then fell back on to the boat near where I was sitting. I thought the boat was going to break in two.”

The fishermen said they had noticed an “abnormal” number of sharks around the boat earlier.

They were all thanking their lucky stars that they’d escaped unscathed.

“I would have been crushed by the shark if I hadn’t dived into the cabin when it landed.”

Weekend Argus