By Breck Dumas
A lobster diver says he is “bruised up” but doing all right after a humpback whale purportedly “swallowed” him off the coast of Massachusetts.
Michael Packard, 56, told the media he was 45 feet down when he ended up fully inside the huge whale’s mouth, but the animal spit him back out after 30 seconds or so.
What are the details?
Packard wrote in a Facebook post Friday:
“Hi everyone, I just want to clarify what happened to me today. I was lobster diving and A humpback whale tried to eat me. I was in his closed mouth for about 30 to 40 seconds before he rose to the surface and spit me out. I am very bruised up but have no broken bones. I want to thank the Provincetown rescue squad for there (sic) caring and help.”
The commercial lobsterman was taken to the hospital after the ordeal, and upon release he recalled what happened to WBZ-TV.
“All of a sudden I just felt this huge bump and everything went dark,” he told the outlet.
After initially thinking he had been bitten by a shark, Packard began feeling around and realized, “Oh my God, I’m in a whale’s mouth.”
He said at that point he figured it would mean the end of his time here on earth, and his thoughts turned to his wife and their two sons, who are 12 and 15. But before long, the whale took him to the surface of the water and spit him out.
‘Thank God it wasn’t a white shark’
Packard’s sister, Cynthia Packard, told the Cape Cod Times that Josiah Mayo, a crewman on Packard’s ship, saw the whale surface and fling Packard out. According to Cynthia, Mayo thought that the whale was a great white shark at first.
“Thank God it wasn’t a white shark,” she told the outlet. “He sees them all the time out there. He must have thought he was done.”
Fox News noted that Packard explained that he was able to breathe while inside the whale’s mouth because he was still wearing scuba gear.
Jooke Robbins, director of Humpback Whale Studies at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, told the Cape Cod Times that humpback whales are not aggressive toward humans, and incidents of them injuring people are so rare that they’re next to nonexistent.
“Based on what was described, this would have to be a mistake and an accident on the part of the humpback,” Robbins said.