PROVINCETOWN, Mass. — A lobster fishermen off Race Point in Provincetown got swallowed by a humpback whale in an extremely rare encounter while he was out diving for lobster’s on Friday morning.
“All of a sudden I felt like I got hit by a freight train and everything went black,” said Michael Packard, 56, of Wellfleet, who was pulled into the whale’s mouth while it was feeding.
“And it went black and I was like, ‘Oh my God, what the heck? Where am I, did I just get bitten by a great white?’”
Packard found himself trapped in the mouth of a whale that was feeding off of Race Point Beach. It took him a moment to figure out what just took place.
“And then I realized after I said it’s not a shark the only thing it could be is I just got eaten by a whale,” he said.
Packard tried to kick and punch his way out but with no luck, he thought this is how he would die.
“All I thought about was my boys, my two young boys and my wife and my family,” he said.
Packard says then after 30 to 40 seconds, the humpback spit him out.
“All of a sudden I saw the light and I saw white water and I saw blue sky. And I could feel the whale just thrashing and he threw me out of his mouth and I landed on the water,” he said.
Joe Francis is a friend who was in his charter boat close by he saw white water and then this.
“The next thing I know I saw it Mike come out feet-first, his flippers flying up in the air and he landed back in the water,” said Francis.
Francis rushed over to help pull Mike out of the water and his friend said this to him, “‘Joe I was in the whale’s mouth. I was inside of the whale.’ He was totally... in big shock but when he says his life passed before him that’s when you realize you’re inside of a whale’s mouth and there’s not much you can do.”
We were curious to see if things could’ve gotten worse if the whale decided to swallow. So, we asked humpback expert Jooke Robbins from the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown.
“So, the mouth itself can be quite large but the possibility of it swallowing anything large, there’s no possibility of that,” said Robbins.
Still, Michael knows he’s lucky to be alive. We asked him if he will ever dive again?
“Absolutely, it’s my passion. It’s what I do for a living, very few people do it. And I get to go down to a different world away from the hustle in the bustle,” he said.
And this is not Packard’s first brush with death. He was in a plane crash in Costa Rica where three people died. He survived in the jungle for two days before he was found. Certainly, one very lucky man.
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