Huge Whale Gulps Up Diver

Hugh Fox
March 12, 2019

A diver in South Africa escaped from a whale of a story that some have exclusively heard about within the Bible. The next moment, it got dark and I felt some pressure on my hip.

"So my next thought was that the whale may take me down into the ocean and release me further down, so I instantly held my breath", he said.

A real-life Moby Dick situation!

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Rainer Schimpf was briefly swallowed by the whale.

The 51-year-old was snorkeling near Port Elizabeth Harbour when a series of photos captured him being sucked headfirst into a Bryde's whale's mouth.

"I felt enormous pressure around my waist, which is when I guess the whale realised its mistake", he added.

"Nothing can actually prepare you for the event when you end up inside the whale", Schimpf told about the freakish experience, "and then it's pure instinct".

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He'd been in the water for just a few minutes when the whale showed up. Hair-like strands called baleen hanging from the whale's jaw trap tiny animals inside their mouths.

The entire incident was caught on camera by photographer Heinz Toperczer, who was on a tour boat on the surface of the water, along with his wife who looked on with disbelief. "They are gentle giants, and it was just an accident".

Schimpf said he feels "privileged" to have experienced something so rare, but he hopes it doesn't happen again. 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. "They also feast on bigger crustaceans such as crabs and shrimps, as well as a variety of small schooling fish", says.

Meanwhile, a pod of killer whales with distinctive round faces has fuelled speculation among scientists of a new species.

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