Lobster diver survives brief entrapment inside whale's mouth

Joanna Estrada
Июня 12, 2021

Michael Packard, 56, recovers in a Cape Cod hospital after being swallowed by a humpback whale Friday off the coast of MA.

The fact that the whale spit him out was hard to comprehend, especially since Packard was already thinking he was doomed.

He thought he had been attacked by one of the great white sharks that swim in the area, "and then I felt around and I realised there was no teeth". "And then I realised, 'Oh, my God, I'm in a whale's mouth".

"I was completely inside; it was completely black", Packard said. He estimated he was inside the mammal for 30 to 40 seconds.

Experts said it's highly unlikely the whale meant to eat Mr Packard.

Mr Packard says he thought about his wife and two boys, aged 12 and 15.

"There was no getting out of there".

Mr Packard, 56, told the Cape Cod Times he and his crewmate took their boat, the Ja'n J, off Herring Cove on Friday morning where conditions were excellent, with water visibility at about 20ft.

"I just got thrown in the air, and landed in the water and I was free and I just floated there". I'm done, I'm dead. "I couldn't believe I got out of that". "And I'm here to tell it". He was later released from the hospital. "He sees them all the time out there", Packard said.

Charles "Stormy" Mayo, a senior scientist and whale expert at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, said this is exceedingly rare. And when they see a whale, keep a good distance. "My second thought was for how injured I was".

The human to whale encounter is not common and the creature likely mistook Packard for fish food.

The whale, identified as a mature female named Valley, was first spotted Monday by a whale watch boat on Stellwagen Bank northeast of Provincetown, according to a statement from the Center for Coastal Studies.

"It's a little like sitting down to a really nice meal, and into your mouth flies a fly", he told CNN.

"There was all this action at the top of the water", Packard said Mayo told her.

Mayo, like Robbins, could not recall a similar situation in which a diver ended up in a humpback's mouth.

Packard, who is an experienced diver, started to think about his wife and his 12 and 15 year old sons, and began to struggle inside the beast's mouth until, he said, he saw a light and the whale started shaking his head side-to side.

"If you come up to atmospheric pressure, and you've held your breath, you could develop an embolism", Mayo said.

"He's a smart guy, he's a tough guy, and he's a lucky guy".

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