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Lobster diver swallowed by whale


It is the stuff of fairly tales and bible stories. A Cape Cod, Massachusetts lobster diver, Michael Packard, 56, was almost swallowed whole by a humpback whale and lived to tell about it.

At about 8 am on Friday, June 11, 2021, experienced lobster diver, Wellfleet’s Michael Packard was going about his daily work routine of diving for lobsters, when suddenly everything went dark. Packard told WBZ-TV who was first on the scene, when he came out of Cape Cod hospital, that after diving off his boat into the waters off Provincetown, Massachusetts, he was about 45 feet below the surface when, he “felt this huge bump and everything went dark.”

“All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black,” Packard told Cape Cod Times Friday afternoon following his release from Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis. “I could sense I was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth.””Oh my god I’m in a whale’s mouth,” he told WBZ-TV, Boston.

The 40-year veteran lobster diver thought his was going to die. He about his wife and two sons and that he would never be able to get out from within the humpback’s enormous mouth.

He said it was probably about 30 seconds that past. He was able to breathe because he wearing scuba gear. “Then all of a sudden he (the whale) went up to the surface and just erupted and started shaking his head,” Packard told WBZ.

WCVB 5 ABC news YouTube report on Wellfleet’s Michael Packard, 56 being gulped up by a humpback whale, held in for 2–30 seconds and then being jettisoned back out of its mouth.

“I saw light, and he started throwing his head side to side, and the next thing I knew I was outside (in the water),” said Packard, told the Cape Cod Times reporter.

Crewman Josiah Mayo, told Packard’s sister, Cynthia that “that he saw all this action at the top of the water and initially thought it was a Great White Shark, common to the shores of CApe Cod, but then he saw the whale spit out her brother back into the sea. Mayo rescued him for the sea and Provincetown Fire Department him to Cape Cod Hospital.

“Thank God, it wasn’t a white shark. He sees them all the time out there,” said Cynthia Packard. “He must have thought he was done.”

Packard told reporters the humpback whale was about 35 or 40 feet and probably thought his scuba bubbles were a school of fish. He said he was in a lot of pain especially his legs but he was not cut, just relieved to be alive.


This isn’t the first time a whale has accidentally swallowed a person. In November 2020, Julie McSorley and Liz Cottriel were whalewatching from their kayaks in Avila Beach, California when a feeding whale bursted swallowed them from beneath and then spat them out.

Scientists say that the esophagus of a humpback is actually too narrow to completely ingest a person.

photo by Robyn Carmel, Unsplash

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