A lobster diver says he was swallowed whole by a whale off the coast of Massachusetts on Friday, but pulled it out alive with only minor injuries from life and death.
Wellfleet’s 56-year-old Michael Packard was released hours later from a Cape Cod hospital after his gruesome encounter with a humpback whale. He told WBZ-TV that he was at a depth of 45 feet in the waters near Provincetown when the attack took place.
At first he thought the whale was a shark, but realized he was wrong when he didn’t feel any teeth or pain.
“Suddenly I felt that huge push and the next thing I knew was completely black,” Packard recalled on Friday afternoon, according to the Cape Cod Times. “I could feel him moving and I could feel the whale contract with the muscles in his mouth.”
“I was completely inside (the whale); it was completely black,” he added. “I thought, ‘There’s no way I can get out of here. I’m done, I’m dead. All I could think of were my boys, they’re 12 and 15 years old.’
Packard said he thought he was in the whale’s mouth for about 30 seconds. He could breathe because he still had a breathing apparatus.
In an attempt to escape, Packard said he began shaking the whale’s head before the animal emerged and threw it away. In a Facebook post, he said the whale “spat me out” and escaped with bruises and no broken bones.
Packard’s partner, Josiah Mayo, pulled him out of the water and headed back to shore. Fox News contacted Packard but received no response.
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Experts told the newspaper that humpback whales are not aggressive animals, especially towards humans.
“Based on what has been described, this should be a mistake and an accident on the part of the humpback whales,” said Joke Robbins, director of humpback whale research at the Coastal Research Center in Provincetown.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.