56-year-old diver Michael Packard claims that he was trapped inside the mouth of a humpback whale during his dive on Friday morning (June 11) off the coast of Cape Cod in MA. Michael Packard told CNN affiliate WBZ he was diving off the coast of Provincetown, Massachusetts when he unwittingly became a modern-day Jonah.
Packard said he initially thought he had been nibbled by a great white shark, but he couldn't feel teeth inside the creature's mouth and didn't notice any wounds.
"He was swallowed by the whale, he was in his mouth for about 20 seconds", Cynthia Packard said in a phone interview Friday morning.
The center's entanglement response team found that the whale had a heavy line lodged in its mouth, but because sea conditions were poor, it could not be freed. Packard survived the incident with only bruises.
Packard, an experienced diver, told WBZ that he still had his breathing apparatus on in the whale's mouth.
"And I thought to myself this is it, I'm gonna die".
"There was no getting out of there". The whale had him in its mouth for approximately 30-40 seconds before it spit him out.
"All of a sudden he went up to the surface and just erupted and started shaking his head", Packard said. "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!'" Do I need to say it again? "And I'm here to tell it".
Mr Packard was taken to hospital for treatment and has since been released.
It was nearly worse being conscious and breathing because Packard knew he'd be alive to experience a very agonyzing end. And when they see a whale, keep a good distance.
"I think it was a surprise to all involved".
Humpbacks are not aggressive animals, and he said he feels this was likely an accidental encounter while the whale was feeding on fish, likely sand lance. In these moments, they don't always see what, or in this case who, they're gulping down.
"When they [whales] fish ... they rush forward, open their mouth and engulf the fish and the water very quickly", she said, adding they have large mouths, but throats so narrow they would not be able to swallow a human.