A Massachusetts commercial lobster diver is lucky to be alive after being swallowed up by a whale.
On Friday, Michael Packard had just jumped off a boat near Cape Cod on one of his routine dives when all of a sudden everything went dark.
“I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black,” Packard told the Cape Cod Times. “I could sense I was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth.”
At first he thought he was swallowed by a shark, but was confused as he didn’t feel teeth or notice any wounds. That’s when he realized he was in his own version of Jonah and the Whale.
“I was completely inside [the whale]; it was completely black,” the 56-year-old added. “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.”
Packard, who was decked out in scuba gear and has been a lobster diver for four decades, believes he was inside the whale for about 40 seconds, before being spit out into the ocean.
“I saw light, and he started throwing his head side-to-side and the next thing I knew I was outside [in the water],” Packard shared. “My first thought was I can’t believe I got out of that situation. My second thought was for how injured I was."
His fellow crewman, Josiah Mayo, saw the whale surface and was able to retrieve Packard, radio for help, and headed to shore so a waiting ambulance could transport the whale survivor to the hospital.
Amazingly, Packard suffered no broken bones and was released from the hospital later that day.
Experts believe the whale may have swallowed Packard by mistake as it is very uncommon for humpbacks to get aggressive with humans.
"It is not something I have heard happening before," said Jooke Robbins, director of Humpback Whale Studies at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown. "So many things would have had to happen to end up in the path of a feeding whale."
Packard is unfazed by the entire incident and plans to return to lobster diving as soon as he is fully recovered.