Caught on film: Divers almost eaten by two enormous humpback whales

In a break between SCUBA dives, Californian whale-watchers get a little too close for comfort

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The Independent US

Two whale-watching scuba divers were almost swallowed off the coast of California when a pair of humpbacks breached the surface just a few feet away from them.

Shawn Stamback and his friend Francis Antigua were hoping to pass the time between dives, and got into the water in a bid to get a little closer to the whales feeding about a quarter of a mile away.

With their friends filming from on board the boat, the warning signs were there when a school of sardines was driven towards them and started jumping out of the water.

By then it was too late for the divers to move, and it’s perhaps for the best that they didn’t because seconds later two 40-tonne monsters smashed through the surface of the water, almost within arm’s reach.

Mr Stamback, who later uploaded the group’s extraordinary footage of the incident, told reporters he believed the whales deliberately missed him and his friend, who wouldn’t have stood a chance if they had been caught in the humpbacks’ all-encompassing gulp.

And fully aware of the dangers of even one flick of a whale’s tail, the divers didn’t hang around for a second viewing.

Pulses racing, they followed their guide-rope straight back to the safety of the boat. It can’t have taken them long to check if their friends had caught the moment on film.