‘He’s trying to swallow me’: Humpback whale gulps up and spits out man
Michael Packard: ‘All of a sudden I felt this huge bump, and everything went dark.’ Photograph: Packard family
A professional lobster diver has lived to tell the tale of inside the mouth of a humpback whale, after he was gulped up and spat out while diving off the coast of Cape Cod in the United States.
Michael Packard (56) from Massachusetts said he was about 45ft deep in the waters off Provincetown when “all of a sudden I felt this huge bump, and everything went dark”.
He thought he had been attacked by a shark, common in the area’s waters, but then realised he could not feel any teeth and he was not in any pain.
“Then I realised, oh my God, I’m in a whale’s mouth . . . and he’s trying to swallow me,” he told told WBZ-TV.
“And I thought to myself, ‘okay, this is it – I’m finally – I’m gonna die’.”
He said his thoughts went to his wife and children.
Mr Packard estimates he was in the whale’s mouth for about 30 seconds, but continued to breathe because he still had his breathing apparatus in.
Then the whale surfaced, shook its head and spat him out. He was rescued by his crewmate in the surface boat.
The lobster driver was then brought to hospital. His sister, Cynthia Packard, originally told the Cape Cod Times that her brother broke a leg, but he said later that his legs are just bruised.
Charles “Stormy” Mayo, a senior scientist and whale expert at the Centre for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, told the newspaper that such human-whale encounters are rare.
Humpbacks are not aggressive and Dr Mayo theorised it was an accidental encounter while the whale was feeding on fish, likely sand lance.– Associated Press