Rainer Schimpf, 51, is a lucky man. After all, he was almost eaten up by a 50-foot whale while he was diving in the Indian Ocean off South Africa, with his head and torso inside the whale’s mouth. Fortunately, after a few seconds, the whale spat him out, and Schimpf swam back to his dive boat, unharmed. (See the video, below.)
Schimpf is the director of Dive Experts Tours, and he was leading a group about 25 nm off Elizabeth Harbour, just east of Cape Town. The group was filming a sardine run that usually attracts seals, dolphins, sharks, penguins and whales. He was snorkeling with two colleagues, filming a shark.
Suddenly he saw the water churn, he felt enormous pressure on his torso, and he realized he was trapped in the jaws of a whale. Schimpf said he held his breath because he thought the whale would dive underwater with him. But the whale spat him out. Schimpf swam back to the dive boat, where his friends and his wife were watching, horrified.
Schimpf later said “I was just collateral damage,” because the whale was in a feeding frenzy, gulping down everything it could find. But, he said, “I don’t want to be inside a whale again.” More: