Diver SWALLOWED by humpback whale and lives to tell the tale
A LOBSTER diver had an utterly terrifying brush with death when he was swallowed by a humpback whale.
Michael Packard, 56, was on his second dive of the day looking for lobsters in Cape Code, a peninsula in the US state of Massachusetts, on the southeast coast. His vessel “Ja’n J” was sitting just off popular Herring Cove Beach - alongside a fleet of other boats fishing for striped bass. The method behind commercial lobster diving is collecting lobsters from the sandy bottom. And, 45ft (14 metres) deep, is where the father-of-two had his terrifying encounter with the humpback whale.
Mr Packard said: "All of a sudden I just felt this huge bump and everything went dark.
"I could sense that I was moving and I was like, 'oh my god, did I just get by a shark?'
"I was in his mouth probably a good 30 seconds but I was still breathing and one of the things that went through my mind was what is he does swallow me and here I am on breathing air and I'm going to breathe in this whales mouth until the air runs out.
"I thought to myself this is it, I'm finally going to die."
He told Cape Cod Times: “All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black.
“I could sense I was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth.”
At first, Mr Packard thought he had been swallowed by a great white shark.
But he could not feel any teeth and did not notice any serious injuries.
It was then that he realised he was inside a whale.
He added: “I was completely inside; it was completely black. 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.”
According to Mr Packard’s calculations, he spent 30 to 40 seconds inside the animal before it surfaced.
The diver said: “I saw light, and he started throwing his head side to side, and the next thing I knew I was outside (in the water).”
Mr Packard, who lives in Welfleet, was taken to Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis.
He was discharged on Friday with what he described as “a lot of soft tissue damage” but no broken bones.
Despite the scare, Mr Packard intends to return to work as soon as he recovers.