Lobster Diver Almost Swallowed by a Humpback Whale

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Michael Packard said he first thought he'd been attacked by a large shark, but then noticed there were no teeth

A lobster diver says he was spit out by a humpback whale that almost swallowed him whole as he dove for lobsters near Massachusetts' Cape Cod coast. 

According to Sky News, Michael Packard, 56, was diving approximately 45 feet down when he “felt this huge bump, and everything went dark.”

He says he first thought he’d been attacked by a great white shark, but he couldn’t feel any teeth.

"Then I realized, oh my God, I'm in a whale's mouth... and he's trying to swallow me," he told WBZ-TV News. Packard was sure he was about to die. He was trapped inside of the whale’s mouth for approximately 30 seconds, but was able to breath thanks to his diving equipment.

"All of a sudden he went up to the surface and just erupted and started shaking his head. I just got thrown in the air and landed in the water.

"I was free and I just floated there. I couldn't believe. . . I'm here to tell it."

Captain Joe Francis, who was heading a fishing charter nearby and witnessed Packard's narrow escape, told CBSN Boston that Packard was lucky to be alive. 

“Then I saw Mike come flying out of the water feet first with his flippers on and land back in the water,” Francis said. “I jumped aboard the boat. We got him up, got his tank off. Got him on the deck and calmed him down and he goes, ‘Joe, I was in the mouth of a whale!'"

Packard, who thought he'd broken leg during the incident, was later treated in Cape Cod Hospital for a dislocated knee and some cuts to his legs. 

A senior scientist and whale expert at the Centre for Coastal Studies in Provincetown told Cape Cod Times that humpbacks are typically not aggressive toward humans, and the whale encounter was likely an accident that occurred when the whale was feeding.

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