A lobster diver caught in the mouth of a humpback whale off the coast of Cape Cod on Friday morning said he thought he would die.
Wellfleet’s 56-year-old Michael Packard told WBZ-TV after he was released from Cape Cod Hospital that he was about 14 meters deep in the waters near Provincetown when “suddenly I felt this huge blow and everything went dark”.
He thought he had been attacked by a shark common in the local waters, but then realized that he had no teeth and no pain.
“Then I realized, oh my God, that I was in a whale’s mouth … and he was trying to swallow me,” he said. And I thought well, that’s it – I’m finally going to die. His thoughts turned to his wife and children.
He estimated that he was in the whale’s mouth for about 30 seconds, but continued to breathe because he was still breathing.
Then the whale emerged, shook its head, and spat it out. He was rescued by his teammate in the surface ship.
His sister, Cynthia Packard, initially told the Cape Cod Times that her brother had broken a leg, but later said his legs were simply bruised.
Charles Stormy Mayo, a senior scientist and whale expert at the Provincetown Coastal Research Center, told the paper that such encounters with humans and whales were rare.
Humpbacks are not aggressive, and Mayo thinks this is a chance encounter, while the whale ate fish, probably sand spears.