Published: Tue, March 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Diver Almost Swallowed Whole By Whale

Diver Almost Swallowed Whole By Whale

In an episode of Barcroft TV's web series "Snapped in the Wild" Rainer, 51, recounts the time he was almost swallowed whole by a Bryde's whale off the coast of South Africa.

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

"I could not imagine how the whale had grabbed me or was holding me, but I instantly knew it had grabbed me because of the pressure on my hip".

A screenshot of Rainer Schimpf inside a whale's mouth. " Grim but ultimately true".

They typically grow to more than 15m in length and feed on a variety of fish and plankton.

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

As much of a surprise as the encounter was for Schimpf, he's sure it was a surprise for the whale as well.


A South African conservationist Rainer Schimpf has narrowly survived after being caught in the jaws of a whale.

The whale realized what happened and let go. Yet, we're told our whole lives, oh, they're gentle giants, they're actually pretty chill, just think about that movie FreeWilly With that kind of size difference, though, intention doesn't matter.

The moment was captured by photographer Heinz Toperczer, who was with the diver on board a nearby ship, said he noticed the water churn up before "a whale appeared and grabbed him (Mr Schimpf)".

Bryde's whales can weigh up to 30 tons when mature and typically eat krill and fish.

Schimpf said he feels "privileged" to have experienced something so rare, but he hopes it doesn't happen again. It was no fault of the whale.

Bryde's whales are members of the baleen whale family, a group that includes blue whales and humpback whales, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 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.

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