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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.

"I don't think I had a whale of a time, but the inside knowledge of what the whale is like", he joked with the network. As is clearly shown in the footage below, Schimpf had accidentally wound up in the mouth of a feeding Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni edeni).

Schimpf also suggested that the whale was likely just as surprised as he was.

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"I was trying to get a shot of a shark going through the bait ball, and then the next moment it got dark and I felt some pressure", Schimpf told the Post. I knew instantly that a whale had caught me, "the diver 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.

Schimpf heads the company Dive Expert Tours, which organises diving excursions for amateurs and professionals.

"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.

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"There is no time for fear, you have to use your instincts", he said.

"Whales are no man-eaters", he said. This was no attack, it was not the fault of the whale, and they are really sensitive.

Unfazed by the experience, the diver was ready to go back into the Indian Ocean minutes later to finish what he was out there to do.

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A video segment from Barcroft Animals is nearing three million views in just four days, and covers most of the basics. "Obviously he realized I was not what he wanted to eat so he spat me out again".

Bryde's whales are known to dive up to 1,000 feet, which is why he held his breath.

They typically grow to more than 15m in length and feed on a variety of fish and plankton.

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