A LOBSTER diver was swallowed whole by a humpback whale and then lived to tell about it after getting spit out.
For about 30 to 40 seconds, Michael Packard of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, was trapped in the jaws of a 60,000-pound mammal as it dawned on him: “I’m in a whale’s mouth – and he’s trying to swallow me.”
Packard said he was diving off of his boat the “Ja’n J” Friday morning off of Herring Cove Beach.
Wearing scuba gear he estimates he was about 45-feet deep scoping for crustaceans when suddenly he felt a “huge bump,” according to an interview he gave to WBZ.
When he came to he was surrounded by darkness.
Initially the 56-year-old assumed he’d been bitten by a massive white shark.
But then he oriented himself and didn’t see any teeth.
That’s when it dawned on him: “I realized ‘My God, I’m in a whale’s mouth. I’m in a whale’s mouth – and he’s trying to swallow me.”
When the shock set in, a flood of fear came at him to face his mortality.
“I thought myself ‘This is it. I finally — I’m gonna die,’” he told WBZ.
Packard started to dote on his wife and his sons, 12 and 15 in that terrifying moment, according to the Cape Cod Times.
“I thought about my kids and my wife,” he said. “There was really no getting out of there.”
After about 30 to 40 seconds of being trapped in the massive beast’s maw Packard said some kind of divine intervention occurred.
“All of a sudden he went to the surface and erupted and started shaking his head and I got thrown into the water,” Packard recalled in the interview with WBZ.
“And I was free.”
He said that he floated in the water for a bit as his shipmate and striped bass fisherman came to help scoop him out of the water.
The fact that the whale spit him out was hard to comprehend, especially since Packard was already thinking he was doomed.
It was almost worse being conscious and breathing because Packard knew he'd be alive to experience a very agonyzing end.
“I still l had try regulator in my mouth I was still breathing,” he recalled to the television station.
“I was just wondering — one of the things one through my mind was, ‘Im breathing air and I going to be in this whale's mouth while im breathing air.’
When he was chucked out of the mouth like a sunflower seed shell and landed in the water virtually unscathed save for bruised legs, Packard was simply dumbfounded.
“I just couldn't believe it,” he said. “I couldn't believe I got out of that.”
The human to whale encounter is not common and the creature likely mistook Packard for fish food.
"Based on what was described, this would have to be a mistake and an accident on the part of the humpback," said Jooke Robbins, director of Humpback Whale Studies at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, told the Cape Cod Times.
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