Schimpf heads the company Dive Expert Tours, which organises diving excursions for amateurs and professionals. When the incident occurred, Rainer, along with a team of divers, was filming sardines near Port Elizabeth, east of Cape Town.
The divers were about 40 kilometres from the coast, when the sea suddenly began to seethe. A huge whale, known as a Bryde's whale, emerged from under the water and swallowed Schimpf along with a shoal of sardines.
"Suddenly the whole world around me got dark and I felt enormous pressure around my waist, in the area of my weight belt," he told mype.co.za.
Bryde's Whale is found in all oceans in temperate and tropical latitudes. It weighs a whopping 40 tonnes, is able to dive to a depth of 300 metres and can grow to 14 metres in length.