A lobster diver says he thought he was going to die after being caught in the mouth of a humpback whale.
Michael Packard recalled how he jumped off his boat near the Cape Cod coast in Massachusetts on Friday morning and was about 45 feet deep when he “felt that huge bump and it all went dark.”
At first he thought he had been attacked by a shark, which is common in this area, but then he realized he couldn’t feel any teeth.
“Then I realized, oh my God, I’m in a whale’s mouth… and he’s trying to swallow me,” he told WBZ-TV News.
Mr Packard, 56, of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, said he thought “this is it, I’m going to die”.
DETAILS: The lobster diver who was briefly engulfed in a whale’s mouth off Cape Cod explained what happened: “A humpback whale tried to eat me. https://t.co/pX3JzEtuAY
– NBC10 Boston (@ NBC10Boston) June 11, 2021
He thought of his children and his wife and was afraid he would not go out.
Although he was inside for about half a minute, he was able to breathe as he still had his breathing equipment on.
Mr Packard recalled: “All of a sudden it came to the surface and erupted and started shaking my head. I was thrown into the air and landed in the water.
“I was free and I just floated there. I couldn’t believe… I’m here to say it.”
He was eventually rescued by his teammate in the boat and was subsequently treated at Cape Cod hospital.
On Facebook, he posted a statement saying, “Hello everyone. I just want to clarify what happened to me today. I was diving lobster and a humpback whale tried to eat me.
“I was in his closed mouth for about 30 to 40 seconds before he came to the surface and spat me out. I’m badly bruised but I don’t have any broken bones.
“I would like to thank the Provincetown Rescue Team for their attention and assistance.”
Her sister, Cynthia Packard, first told the Cape Cod Times that her brother broke his leg, but later said his legs were just bruised.
Charles Stormy Mayo, senior scientist and whale expert at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, told the newspaper such human-whale encounters are rare.
Humpback whales are not aggressive and Mr. Mayo believes it was an accidental encounter while the whale was feeding.