Story at a glance

  • Packard, 56, jumped off his boat into the water in Provincetown, Mass., on Friday morning when he felt a huge bump and everything went dark.
  • “And then I realized, ‘Oh my God I’m in a whale’s mouth ... and he’s trying to swallow me,’ ” he said.
  • The animal eventually spit Packard out and he was only badly bruised.

A commercial lobster diver is safe after he was nearly swallowed by a humpback whale off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass.

CBS Boston reports Michael Packard, 56, jumped off his boat into the water in Provincetown, Mass., on Friday morning when he felt a huge bump and everything went dark. 


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Packard, who has been a lobster diver for four decades, said at first he thought he was being attacked by a shark. 

“And then I felt around and I realized there was no teeth,” he said. 

“And then I realized, ‘Oh my God I’m in a whale’s mouth ... and he’s trying to swallow me,’ ” he told the news outlet. 

Packard said he was in the massive whale’s mouth for 30 to 40 seconds before the animal spit him out. 

“Then all of a sudden he went up to the surface and just erupted and started shaking his head. I just got thrown in the air and landed in the water,” he told CBS. 

“I was free and I just floated there. I couldn’t believe ... I’m here to tell it,” he added. 

Packard said he was bruised but suffered no broken bones or other serious injuries. He was able to leave the hospital later in the day. 

Charles “Stormy” Mayo, a senior scientist and whale expert at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, told the Cape Cod Times that such incidents with humpback whales are rare since they are typically not aggressive. 

“People direct dive on them [humpbacks] in the tropics, not here. In those places I’m not aware of a single incident of people having problems with them,” Mayo told the newspaper. 


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Published on Jun 11, 2021