Lobster diver Michael Packard is happy to be alive after being inside the mouth of a humpback whale, according to NBC News. The incident occurred Friday morning off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
“A humpback whale tried to eat me,” said 56-year-old Packard. “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.”
Packard suffered a dislocated knee and soft tissue damage, but was able to return home to his family the same day. He had been lobster diving when he said he “felt this truck hit me and everything just went dark.”
Initially, he thought he had been the victim of a shark attack, a common occurrence in the area. He soon realized that he was inside the closed mouth of a whale. Packard momentarily lost his breathing regulator in the darkness, but was able to retrieve it.
While in the whale’s mouth, he thought about his wife, his mother, his 12 and 16-year-old sons, and the rest of his family. Many other thoughts went through his mind, as well.
“Am I just going to run out of air and suffocate? Is it going to swallow me? This is how you’re going to go, Michael. This is how you’re going to die, in the mouth of a whale,” Packard said he thought to himself.
However, the whale soon surfaced and spit him out. Packard recalled seeing light and feeling the whale shaking, and then being thrown out of the whale’s mouth into the water and seeing white water all around him. He was then picked up in the surface boat by his crew mate.
According to senior scientist and whale expert at the Center for Coastal Studies, Charles “Stormy” Mayo, occurrences such as this are extremely rare. He said that humpback whales are not aggressive creatures, and believes Packard ended up in the mouth of a humpback whale accidentally as it fed on fish.