Diver survives after being scooped up in whale's mouth off South Africa

Diver survives after being scooped up in whale's mouth off South Africa

Diver survives after being scooped up in whale's mouth off South Africa

For nearly fifteen years, South African diver Rainer Schimpf has been documenting an extraordinary ecological phenomenon called the "sardine run", when billions of fish spawn in the cool waters of the Agulhas Bank and move northward along the east coast of South Africa, bringing with them a plethora of hungry predators seeking after an easy meal.

The 51-year-old Rainer Schimpf was filmed with his legs hanging out of a whale's mouth.

"So once I felt something had grabbed me on the hip, I knew instantly it was a whale".

"It gives me a connection to the whale which I don't think anyone else has had", Schimpf added, in quite an understatement. " Grim but ultimately true".

Bryde's whales can reach lengths of 16 metres.

Let's see how long that one manages to stay on the page before it's deleted.


Mr Schimpf speaks about what happened while he was inside the whale's mouth.

Mr Schimpf said he believes it was an accident on the whale's behalf and the large mammal would either swim off with him or swallow him completely.

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

The experienced diver explained how, at the moment he was grabbed by the enormous fish, he held his breath, fearful that the huge beast would drag him down to the depths.

He told MyPE that he "felt the pressure increase around the waist, which is when I guess the whale realised his mistake as he turned sideways, opened his mouth slightly to release me and I was washed out, together with what felt like tons of water". It was no fault of the whale.

Despite their massive size, Bryde's whales are not maneaters. However, as they prefer waters of 16°c or more, they limit their travel to within tropical, subtropical and warm temperate waters - the only species of baleen whale to do so. Bryde's whales are supposedly not known for eating humans, hence spit the man back out.

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