Diver Ends Up in Whale’s Mouth!

Diver Ends Up in Whale's Mouth!

March 12, 2019– Mary Greeley News – A diver in South Africa survived an experience out of a biblical passage last month when he ended up almost being swallowed by a whale.

Rainer Schimpf, 51, was snorkeling off the coast of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, when he ended up in the path of a Bryde’s whale, which opened his jaws and engulfed him headfirst.

Rainer Schimpf, 51, was in the water with a “bait ball,” a swirling school of sardines surrounded by predators, when he suddenly felt the world go dark. He quickly realized he’d been scooped up by a whale, he told The Today Show.

“I held my breath,” he said in an interview with Today, expecting the whale to pull him down. “I mean there was no other thing I could do,” he added. “I mean, you can’t fight a 15-ton animal.”

“We were very astonished that out of nowhere this whale came up,” he told Sky News. “I was busy concentrating on the sharks because you want to know if the shark is in front of you or behind you, left or right, so we were very focused on the sharks and their behavior — then suddenly it got dark.”

Diver Ends Up in Whale's Mouth!

Schimpf, who has worked as a dive operator for over 15 years, said he was in the water with two others for just a matter of minutes before the whale appeared. He had happened to be with a group recording a sardine run, which is where marine animals such as dolphins, whales, and sharks gather fish into bait balls.

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The 51-year-old said once the whale grabbed him, he felt pressure around his body but soon realized he was too big for the whale to swallow him whole which was “kind of an instant relief.”

“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 told Sky News.

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Fortunately, the whale was likely as displeased about the situation as Schimpf and spit the swimmer out within a couple of seconds.

Photographer Heinz Toperczer, who was working aboard a nearby boat, captured an amazing photo of Schimpf halfway inside the whale’s mouth above the waterline, with only the diver’s lower body dangling out.

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Unlike the biblical story of Jonah, Schimpf didn’t end up in the animal’s belly but was able to swim away after being released.

The whale was a Bryde’s whale, pronounced Broo-dah’s. These animals’ range throughout tropical and subtropical waters worldwide, said Tom Jefferson, a biologist and member of the scientific advisory board for Save the Whales. They’re not so well-known, in part because they don’t venture into polar regions and thus were never widely hunted by whalers, Jefferson said. Around South Africa, these whales average around 43 to 45 feet (13.1 to 13.7 meters) in length.

“Bryde’s whales are named for Johan Bryde, a Norwegian who built the first whaling stations in South Africa in the early 20th century,” the agency says. “Bryde’s whales are found in warm, temperate oceans including the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific.”

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The whales can weigh about 90,000 pounds and grow to a length of 55 feet, according to the NOAA. The whales have a diet that consists mainly of krill, red crabs, shrimp and a “variety of schooling fishes,” but clearly not adult humans.

Schimpf said the whole experience showed him just how small humans are in the world.

“Once you’re grabbed by something that’s 15 tons heavy and very fast in the water, you realize you’re actually only that small in the middle of the ocean,” he told Sky News.

Mary Greeley News

credit: https://www.foxnews.com/world/diver-survives-after-being-scooped-up-in-whales-mouth-off-south-africa