MA lobster diver survives being swallowed by whale: 'I was completely inside'

Yolanda Curtis
June 12, 2021

Robbins said that Humpbacks often engage in so-called "lunge feeding", in which a fast moving whale tries to gather a large volume of food in its mouth quickly.

Michael Packard, 56, had been a commercial lobster diver out of Provincetown, Massachusetts for 40 years and was going on a routine lobster dive off the coast of Cape Cod last Friday morning when he said he 'felt a huge bump and everything went dark'.

He continued, "I was completely inside (the whale); it was completely black".

When he was chucked out of the mouth like a sunflower seed shell and landed in the water virtually unscathed save for bruised legs, Packard was simply dumbfounded.

Packard said he thinks he was in the whale's mouth for about 30 seconds.

"All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black", Packard said in an interview with the Cape Cod Times.

He told the newspaper he realized he had been swallowed after first thinking he was inside a great white shark, but then noticed he did not have any apparent wounds. "I thought to myself, 'There's no way I'm getting out of here. Got him on the deck and calmed him down and he goes, "Joe, I was in the mouth of a whale" he goes 'I can't believe it, I was in the mouth of a whale Joe!'" He was able to breathe because he still had his breathing apparatus.

Packard has said that despite the ordeal and his wife's pleas, he has no plans to get another job.

Jooke Robbins, director of humpback whale studies at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Massachusetts, said she had no reason to doubt the account.

"We don't really see humpback whales doing anything like this normally", Robbins told CNN.

"When they do that, they don't necessarily see everything", she said.

The harbour is a popular area for boaties. Mayo told CNN he was there when his son brought Packard ashore, and emergency services immobilised him and brought him to the hospital.

The story says Mr Packard's fishing mate Josiah Mayo "saw the explosion of water as the whale surfaced and Packard was ejected", but doesn't include any quotes attributed to him.

"To get out of a situation like that you have to be a top pro".

Mayo watched in shock as the water beside the boat erupted as the whale surfaced - and Packard flew out of the mammal's mouth. "He's a smart guy, he's a tough guy, and he's a lucky guy".

Other reports by iNewsToday