Real-life 'Jonah' escapes after nearly being swallowed by whale

Real-life 'Jonah' escapes after nearly being swallowed by whale

Real-life 'Jonah' escapes after nearly being swallowed by whale

A diver is lucky to be alive after a large whale picked him up in its mouth during an expedition off South Africa's coast.

51-year-old South African diver Rainer Schimpf miraculously survived after the whale captured him in its mouth, along with sardines.

He said: "Obviously he realised I was not what he wanted to eat so he spat me out again". Schimpf was out with a gaggle of divers taking pictures of sharks within the space so the enormous mammal's look was a little bit of shock. So, once I felt something has grabbed me on the hip, I knew instantly it was whale so I instantly held my breath. "It gives me a connection to the whale that I don't think anyone else had before".

Fortunately, nearly as soon as the unfortunate gulp began, Schimpf said, the whale released its jaw, allowing him to slip free to the surface.

In his more than 15 years running diving tours, Schimpf had never encountered a situation quite like this. "And once I felt pressure, instantly I knew a whale had grabbed me", Schimpf told Barcroft TV. "Seconds decide in Nature whether you get a good shoot, seconds decide if you become prey, seconds decide your survival and seconds are all that counts", he said.

The whales can weigh about 90,000 pounds and grow to a length of 55 feet, according to the NOAA.

"There was no time for fear or any emotion", he told The Telegraph.

The diver and witnesses to the incident believe the whale was just as surprised to find a man in it's mouth. "No broken bones, no cracked ribs so all was good".

"It happened extremely fast ..."

This representative photo shows a mother Bryde's whale (front) and her calf feeding on anchovies in the Gulf of Thailand, off the coast of Samut Sakhon province, November 20, 2016.

Keen to get the best shots, he plunged into the centre of a swirling bait ball - but when the sea suddenly churned, the group realised that something odd was happening.

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