Humans are very small, sayy diver nearly swallowed by whale

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Diver Rainer Schimpf found himself in the life-or-death situation while he and several of his friends were documenting a group of sardines near Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

"Once I felt the pressure, I instantly knew a whale had grabbed me", Schimpf said. So, once I felt something has grabbed me on the hip, I knew instantly it was whale so I instantly held my breath.

The whale started to dive with Mr Schimpf inside.

Schimpf said he feels "privileged" to have experienced something so rare, but he hopes it doesn't happen again.

Out of the darkness a Bryde's whale shot up from the depths, jaws wide open. The ordeal lasted just 1.8 seconds, barely long enough to register the full impact of what had happened, before Schimpf was back out and in the water, still clutching his underwater camera.

The type of whale involved was a Bryde's whale, which is a baleen-feeder that eats mostly plankton.

Most of us have a cartoonish idea of what the inside of whale's stomach looks like thanks to Pinocchio, but diver Rainer Schimpf nearly found out what a whale belly looks like for real. "So this was really an accident".

Rainer Schimpf was attempting to film a sardine run when the whale shot up from the depths
DAVID WHITE STUFFRainer Schimpf was attempting to film a sardine run when the whale shot up from the depths

But whatever the explanation, having a 90,000 pound "gentle giant" mistake you for lunch is not much fun. There was no time to think.

The diver and witnesses to the incident believe the whale was just as surprised to find a man in it's mouth.

Bryde's Whales can reach up to 15 metres of length and 30 tonnes.

"We were very astonished that out of nowhere this whale came up", he said.

Despite their massive size, Bryde's whales are not maneaters. However, as they prefer waters of 16°c or more, they limit their travel to within tropical, subtropical and warm temperate waters - the only species of baleen whale to do so.

An global team of researchers said they found a couple of dozen of these distinctly different orcas roaming the oceans off southern Chile in January.

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