Diver Describes Miraculous Escape After Being Almost Swallowed by Whale

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Rainer Schimpf, 51, was snorkeling off the coast of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, when he ended up in the path of a Bryde's whale, which opened his jaws and engulfed him headfirst.

"It happened extremely fast ..."

"I don't think I had a "whale" of a time, but I have the inside knowledge of what a whale is like", Schmipf added. As is clearly shown in the footage below, Schimpf had accidentally wound up in the mouth of a feeding Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni edeni).

Rainer Schimpf was briefly swallowed by the whale. "I was busy concentrating on the sharks because you want to know if the shark is in front of you or behind you, left or right, so we were very focused on the sharks and their behavior - then suddenly it got dark".

Schimpf heads the company Dive Expert Tours, which organises diving excursions for amateurs and professionals.

He also told Sky News that the experience made him realize how small human beings were compared to some of the other species in the world. I knew instantly that a whale had caught me, "the diver told Barcroft TV".

"There is not time for fear in a situation like that, you'll have to use your instinct", Schimpf said.

Bait ball
Predators like dolphins and whales drive fish into tight

Schimpf, an award-winning conservationist with 20-years experience, said the ordeal lasted "matter of seconds" - rather than the three nights Jonah spent in a whale's stomach, according to the Bible story.

"Whales are not man-eaters".

Barcroft's video of the incident has gone viral with over 4 million views - the company is a major YouTube video provider.

"It is quite the tale to tell".

The whale soon realised something was wrong, and spat the man out again, unharmed.

Bryde's whales are known to dive up to 1,000 feet, which is why he held his breath.

Bryde's whales are close relatives of humpbacks and blue whales, and have been documented growing to over 15 metres in length.

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