One minute he was snorkeling; the next, he had been scooped up by a whale. A Bryde's whale, to be specific, took Rainer Schimpf, 51, into its mouth as he was in the water off the coast of the South African town of Port Elizabeth last month, the Guardian reports. "Looming up out of darkness below came a Bryde’s whale shooting up into the ball of fish, gulping all in its path," the marine conservationist, who was filming a sardine run at the time, tells AFP. As his wife and a photographer looked on from their boat, his legs hung out of the whale's mouth.
The whale had accidentally scooped him up while trying to eat sardines, Schimpf explains. He took a deep breath, preparing to go underwater for a time, he said on a recent episode of Barcroft TV's web series Snapped in the Wild. But after just seconds, the animal figured out something had gone wrong. It opened its mouth and "I was washed out with what felt like tons of water from its mouth," Schimpf says. No one was injured during the incident, and Schimpf says he went right back in to the water to look for sharks. Bryde's whales can weigh up to 30 tons. (This species of Bryde's whale is in danger.)