A professional lobster diver who was swallowed by a humpback whale off the coast of Cape Cod, survived the scary incident after the mammal spat him back out.
Michael Packard, 56, was about 45 feet deep in the waters off Provincetown on Friday, June 11, when he “felt a huge bump, and everything went dark”.
According to him, he thought he had been attacked by a shark but later realized that he could not feel any teeth and he was not in any pain.
“All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black,” Packard recalled Friday afternoon following his release from Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis. “I could sense I was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth.”
“I was completely inside; it was completely black,” Packard said. “I thought to myself, ‘there’s no way I’m getting out of here. I’m done, I’m dead.’ All I could think of was my boys — they’re 12 and 15 years old.”
Mr.Michael said he believes he was in the whale’s mouth for about 30 seconds but continued to breathe because he still had his breathing apparatus in.
Luckily for him, the whale shook its head and spat him out before it he was rescued by his crewmate in the surface boat.
“I saw light, and he started throwing his head side to side, and the next thing I knew I was outside (in the water),” said Packard, who lives in Wellfleet.
His sister, Cynthia Packard, originally told the Cape Cod Times that her brother broke a leg, but he said later that his legs are just bruised.
Charles “Stormy” Mayo, a senior scientist and whale expert at the Centre for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, told the newspaper that such human-whale encounters are unusual.
Humpbacks are not aggressive and Dr. Mayo speculated it was an accidental encounter while the whale was feeding on fish, likely sand lance.
Humpback whales can weigh about 36 tons and grow to as long as 50ft (15m).