A South African diver survived an extraordinary experience that many are comparing with a biblical passage just last month after he survived being swallowed halfway by a whale.
51 year old Rainer Schimpf and his friends were out snorkeling and documenting the annual sardine run off the coast of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, when he ended up on the terrifying path of a Bryde’s whale, which opened his enormous mouth and swallowed him headfirst.
Speaking to Sky News, Rainer said, “We were very astonished that out of nowhere this whale came up. 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.”
Rainer says everything happened very fast. “I felt some pressure on my hip….and I instantly knew a whale had grabbed me. There is no time for fear in a situation like that…Nothing can prepare you for the event when you end up inside the whale. It’s pure instinct.”
Rainer, who has been enlisted as a dive operator for over 15 years, said that he instantly held his breath, fearing the marine mammal would dive down holding him and then spit him out far below the ocean’s surface.
“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. “Obviously he realized I was not what he wanted to eat so he spat me out again.”
Unlike the biblical story of Jonah, Rainer didn’t end up in the whale’s belly but was able to swim away after the whale let go.
Incredibly amazing photographs captured by one of the people on Rainer’s team shows the man hanging halfway out of the gigantic whale’s mouth.