Diver Swept Into The Mouth of a Whale Lives to Tell His Story

  • And he's lucky he did.

There are some really legit fears in this life and you never know what can happen. This is almost like a cartoon or a movie but it really happened. A man was swept into the mouth of a whale, yet he somehow survived.

This is what happened.

A South African dive tour operator, Rainer Schimpf, was nearly swallowed by  a whale as he was swept into its jaws during a sardine feeding last month. Schimpf, 51, was snorkeling near Port Elizabeth Harbour when a series of photos captured him being pulled into the whales mouth, headfirst.

“There was no time for fear or any emotion,” he said. “I knew instantly what had happened. I knew that a whale had come and taken me and I instinctively held my breath, assuming that it would dive down again and spit me out somewhere in the depths of the Indian Ocean.”

Lucky for him, that’s not what happened. Bryde’s whales can dive for five to 15 minutes, reaching depths of 1,000 feet. A nearby photographer witnessed the scene and began snapping away and getting everything but Schimpf’s legs vanishing inside the mammal.

Fortunately for Schimpf, almost as soon as he was pulled into the whale’s mouth, the mammal released his jaw, thus allowing the diver to get out and make his way to the surface of the water.

Witnesses and Schimpf consider his escape a lucky break. “Whales are no man-eaters,” witness Claudia Weber-Gebert said in an interview. “This was no attack. It was no fault of the whale. They are really sensitive, they are gentle giants, and it was just an accident.”

The diver says he believes the mammal was just as surprised as he was. “It was an interesting experience for me but surely nothing I’d like to do again,” he stated. “I don’t think I had a whale of a time, but I now have the inside knowledge of a whale which nobody else has.”