Massachusetts man survives being nearly eaten by monstrous humpback whale.
For the rest of his life, Michael Packard will have a diving story that is downright biblical in nature. Because last Friday the man was nearly swallowed by a humpback whale off Provincetown, Massachusetts. He escaped the incredible encounter with only minor injuries.
The Cape Cod Times reports 56-year-old Packard is a commercial lobster diver. Last Friday he was scuba diving about ten feet from the bottom when things took an unexpected and frightening turn for the worst.
"All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black," Packard told reporters.
His first thought was that he had been grabbed by a great white shark. Packard has seen them before while lobster diving in the area. However, he quickly realized there were no teeth in this creature's mouth. Still, he could feel the muscles of the whale's mouth squeezing on his body.
Not seeing a way out, and still having a ton of oxygen left in his tank, Packard was convinced this might be a long, slow death. He told reporters his thoughts immediately went to his family.
"I was completely inside; it was completely black," Packard told the Cape Cod Times. "I thought to myself 'there's no way I'm getting out of here. I'm done, I'm dead.' All I could think of was my boys - they're 12 and 15 years old."
Fortunately for Packard, humans are not part of the menu. The next thing he knew, he could feel the whale shaking its head. A few seconds later, the whale came to the surface and spit the terrified diver back out. He had spent 30 to 40 seconds in the mouth of one of the largest animals on Earth.
The incredible encounter has multipe eyewitnesses to confirm this whale of a tale. While Packard was in the water, his sister Cynthia and a crewman Josiah Mayo were in Packard's boat, the "Ja'n J" on the surface monitoring his movements. When the whale surfaced to spit the diver out, they also initially thought a great white shark had attacked.
Boston 25 News reports one of Packard's friends, Joe Francis was going past in his charter boat when he saw the whale spit the man up.
"The next thing I know I saw it Make come out feet-first, his flippers flying up in the air and he landed back in the water," Francis told the news station.
Packard was transported back to Provincetown Pier where he was taken to cape Cod Hospital and treated for minor injuries. Obviously dealing with some emotions from the ordeal, Packard described the moment the whale spit him out in greater detail to a local news station.
"As soon as I landed in the water, and I was floating there in excruciating pain, I was like 'Oh my God, I'm alive! I actually got out of that,'" Packard told WCVB Channel 5 Boston. "I didn't think I was going to get out. I was convinced that was it."
Obviously, the whale was not trying to eat Packard. There is some speculation that the air bubbles produced by Packard's scuba gear may have looked like the krill or small fish that normally make up the marine mammal's diet.
In any case, this is Packard's second close brush with death in the last twenty years. The Cape Cod Times reports he survived a small plane crash in Costa Rica ten years ago. Still, he is not letting this incident phase him. Packard plans to get back in the water as soon as his injuries heal.