Man Nearly Gets Eaten By Whale - And Lives To Tell The Tale

Arturo Kim
March 12, 2019

According to Schimpf, who organizes diving activities, at that time he had planned - together with the other divers - to document the migration of the sardine, which occurs in South Africa from May to July.

Rainer Schimpf, 51, was nearly swallowed whole by a 55-foot Bryde's whale while diving off the coast of Port Elizabeth.

"My hard-won experience kicked in and I instantly held my breath, thinking that the whale would instinctively dive down again before spitting me out somewhere in the depths of the Indian Ocean".

"I was trying to get a shot of a shark going through the bait ball and then the next moment it got dark and I felt some pressure when I instantly knew, a whale had grabbed me", he told Barcroft TV.

"I don't think I had a whale of a time, but the inside knowledge of what the whale is like", he joked with the network.

Unlike the biblical story of Jonah, Schimpf didn't end up in the whale's belly but was able to swim away after being released.

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The whale started to dive with Mr Schimpf inside.

Schilmpf told Martin Bester he is grateful the whale spat him out.

"I could not imagine how the whale had grabbed me or was holding me, but I instantly knew it had grabbed me because of the pressure on my hip". When a mammoth marine creature like a Bryde's whale - which is usually around 14 or 15 metres long (45 or 50 feet) - opens its mouth to feed, it engulfs whatever is in its way. "No broken bones, no cracked ribs so all was good". Bryde's whales are supposedly not known for eating humans, hence spit the man back out. "It all happened very fast".

Keen to get the best shots, he plunged into the centre of a swirling bait ball - but when the sea suddenly churned, the group realised that something unusual was happening.

The 51-year-old's fellow dive teachers said his incident with the whale was undoubtably an accident.

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