JAWS WIDE OPEN: Shark leaps out of water at researcher

Watch: Great white shark breaches below researcher off Cape Cod

In the words of boat captain John King, "Holy crap!"

After seeing the shark in the distance, the boat approached the area while Skomal tried to use a long pole to get the camera under the water line.

Video uploaded to YouTube by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy shows the researcher on a boat earlier this week in waters off the USA state of MA.

The Boston Globe identified the man who was just inches from the shark's mouth as a MA state biologist named Greg Skomal.

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.

It's not clear why the shark breached or whether this was a type of attack behavior.

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.

"Did you see that?"

The research trip was taking place off the coast of Cape Code in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.

Skomal adds, "It came right out and opened his mouth right at my feet". It was unknown early Monday how large the shark was or if it was one of several hundred that have been identified during the first four years of the population study.

Cape Cod has become an important aggregation site for the sharks, allowing viral research opportunities, particularly the fitting of locator tags to track their movements.

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