Massachusetts man captures stunning video of shark leaping from water with jaws open

Greg Skomal, a marine fisheries biologist at Martha's Vineyard Research Station, recently experienced a once-in-a-lifetime event when a shark leapt out of the water with its jaws wide open, inches from his arm.

A shark he spotted during a recent tagging trip breached the water and jumped up with its jaws open. It happened as Skomal stood on the extended bow of a research vessel.

Skomal, the top shark expert in the Bay State, has encountered a number of sharks while working at the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries, a division of the state's  Department of Fish & Game. But even this event surprised him.

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"Did you see that? Did you see that?" he says in a video posted to Facebook, as he immediately returns to looking for the shark.

In a statement, the conservancy said: "While encounters like this one are rare, this video shows that they're certainly possible."

The video has gone viral, having been viewed more than 340,000 times.

"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 Atlantic White Shark Conservancy wrote in a caption on its Facebook page.

The caption continued: "While encounters like this one are rare, this video shows that they’re certainly possible. White sharks are wild and unpredictable animals. This is a good reminder of the importance of not becoming complacent and always staying vigilant when in or on the water."

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Shark sightings and videos have seen an increase in interest in recent weeks, after The Discovery Channel held its popular "Shark Week" late last month.

Video of the largest great white ever captured on film, a 20-foot shark dubbed "Deep Blue," resurfaced last week.

Separately in Massachusetts, a great white shark, estimated to be 15-feet in length, attacked a seal in Cape Cod, sending surfers scrambling to shore.

The Associated Press and Fox News' Madeleine Farber contributed to this report. Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia