Rainer Schimpf was diving with some colleagues at Port Elizabeth off the coast of South Africa when he was suddenly swallowed by a whale. The 51-year-old professional diver, who came out from it unscathed, gives his story. “Your life can be over in a matter of seconds,” says Schimpf.
When Schimpf was taking photos of a large group of fish while snorkeling, a whale suddenly surfaced. “Everything became black before my eyes. There was no time for fear or any emotion,” says Schimpf to the British newspaper ‘The Telegraph’.
“I immediately knew what was happening. I knew it was a whale that had taken me, and I instinctively held my breath, assuming he would dive down again and spit me somewhere in the depths of the ocean.” That hope became reality. “He opened his mouth, allowing me to free myself,” it sounds. A few other colleagues, who had stayed on the boat, saw everything happening and were able to capture it on screen. “Silke took photos when she saw the animal appear. Suddenly she noticed something strange about the head of the whale. She did not realize at first that it was me,” Schimpf said, who was not injured.
“I realize how lucky I have been. Your life can be over in a matter of seconds. The whale has not attacked me. I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” concludes the diver. “I am convinced that it was at least as frightening for the whale.”
The diver was swallowed by a bryceid fish, which can grow up to fourteen meters long. It is the only large whale that stays in tropical seas all year round.