Published: Tue, March 12, 2019
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

SA's Own "Jonah" Survives After Being "Swallowed" By A Whale

SA's Own

A South African tour operator who was nearly swallowed by a whale says the experience has made him realise just how small humans are.

"I held my breath because I thought he is going to dive down and release me much deeper in the ocean", explained Schimpf, adding: "It was pitch black inside".

Only Schimpf's wetsuit separated his flesh from the whale's jaws.

In the Bible story Jonah goes against God's will and is swallowed whole by a whale in a storm - but is returned to the land unscathed when he repents his sins.

"I felt a pressure on my hip", he said, but said that in a circumstance like that "you do not have time to be afraid, you have to use your instinct".

There was no time for fear.

"Looming up out of darkness below came a Bryde's whale shooting up into the ball of fish, gulping all in its path", he told AFP, adding that his legs were hanging from the mammal's mouth during the incident at the end of February.

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.

"I felt some pressure around my waist and I immediately knew what had happened". It was no fault of the whale.

"Once you're grabbed by something that's 15 tons heavy and very fast in the water", Rainer told Sky News, "you realize you're actually only that small in the middle of the ocean".

"Whales are no man-eaters - so this was really an accident, they are gentle giants", Schimpf said.

A video segment from Barcroft Animals is nearing three million views in just four days, and covers most of the basics.

"It is quite the tale to tell".

He said: "Obviously he realised I was not what he wanted to eat so he spat me out again".

One minute he was snorkeling; the next, he had been scooped up by a whale.

Bryde's whales can reach lengths of 16 metres.

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