Man escapes jaws of whale

Rainer Schimpf in the mouth of the Bryde's Whale- Heinz Toperczer  Barcroft Media

Rainer Schimpf in the mouth of the Bryde's Whale- Heinz Toperczer Barcroft Media

The incident happened when Schimpf was snorkeling off the coast of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, filming dolphins, sharks, gannets, penguins, cormorants and gulls, with two security snorkelers swimming beside him in February. "And from being on the surface and observing something, I became the inside man and was suddenly inside a whale looking out", Rainer told Barcroft TV.

"It got dark, I felt some pressure on my hip, and I instantly knew a whale had grabbed me", he told British news agency Barcroft TV.

"The next moment I felt the whale was turning either way, and the pressure was released, and I was washed out of the mouth", Mr Schimpf said. " Grim but ultimately true".

Despite the beast's impressive size, Bryde's whales mainly feed on tiny ocean creatures like krill.

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"We were very astonished that out of nowhere this whale came up", he told Sky News.

Rainer Schimpf 51 has worked as a dive tour operator in South Africa for over 15 years

Luckily for Mr Schimpf, Bryde's whales aren't known for eating humans and it just spat him back out.

Schimpf said it was not an attack, adding: "It was going for the fish and I happened to be in the wrong spot".

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.

The whale that nearly swallowed Schimpf was a Bryde's Whale, which can grow up to 55 feet long and weigh up to 30 tons. "They also feast on bigger crustaceans such as crabs and shrimps, as well as a variety of small schooling fish", says.

Bryde's Whale is found in all oceans in temperate and tropical latitudes. "Bryde's whales are found in warm, temperate oceans including the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific".

"Nothing can actually prepare you for the event when you end up inside the whale - it's pure instinct", he said.

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