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Man who was 'swallowed' whole by whale says he only realised what had happened once it went dark

Joe Harker

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Man who was 'swallowed' whole by whale says he only realised what had happened once it went dark

A man who got swallowed whole by a whale didn't even realise he was being eaten until everything went dark around him.

Wildlife photographer Rainer Schimpf had been in the water off the South African coast to film something called a 'sardine run', where the denizens of the deep herd schools of sardines together so they can more easily eat them.

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Snorkelling in the sea just off Port Elizabeth Harbour, Schimpf ended up being gobbled up by a Bryde's whale as he tried to capture the sardine run in all its glory.

Fortunately he survived the whole thing without even so much as a scratch, but had the whale decided to dive down while he was still stuck inside its mouth he would most likely have died.

Luckily, it ultimately spat him out to safety instead of dragging him down to a watery grave.

Schimpf revealed that the process of getting eaten by the whale was pretty much over before he knew it, as he told Today it hadn't deterred him from getting back in the water at all.

See that thing inside the whale's mouth? That's Rainer in the process of being swallowed whole. Credit: YouTube/Today
See that thing inside the whale's mouth? That's Rainer in the process of being swallowed whole. Credit: YouTube/Today

He said: "It took less than two seconds. In that two seconds the first thing which I realised is that something grabbed me, pushed my hip together. I could feel the pressure and instantly knew it was a whale.

"My second thought was that obviously it can't swallow me, because the throat of the whale is not big enough to swallow a human. My next thought was it's most likely going to dive down with me."

"I held my breath and I was prepared, that's the only thing I could do. You can't fight a 15 ton animal, I was just holding on and bracing myself, calming myself down not to be panicked. It worked out, he spat me out."

When Rainer got home he discovered that the moderate inconvenience of being eaten alive hadn't left even a single mark on his body in the form of a bruise or scratch.

A Bryde's whale, the kind that gobbled up Rainer before letting him go. Credit: charoen pattarapitak / Alamy Stock Photo
A Bryde's whale, the kind that gobbled up Rainer before letting him go. Credit: charoen pattarapitak / Alamy Stock Photo

He also explained that he was glad that a whale was the animal that potentially ate him as it's 'much better that than a shark'.

Schimpf told Sky News he'd been so busy looking out for sharks which might decide to take a bite out of him when 'suddenly it got dark', and that's the point where he realised a whale had eaten him.

Another man had a similar brush with fate when he was swallowed by a whale - lobster fisherman Michael Packard was eaten off the Cape Cod coast when a whale came 'out of nowhere'.

Like Rainer, Michael was pretty much stuck hoping the animal would spit him out, and fortunately it did so.

Despite the near death experiences, neither man had been at all put off getting back into the water.

Featured Image Credit: Youtube/Today

Topics: Animals, Weird, World News

Joe Harker
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