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Diver experiences biblical tale inside whale's mouth, but survives

Monday, June 14th 2021, 9:56 am - It was a whale of a tale for Michael Packard, who was nearly devoured by a giant mammal recently after diving into the waters off the coast of Provincetown, Mass.

What was supposed to be an ordinary dive for Michael Packard turned out to be a shocking tale of survival, perhaps one unheard of in modern times.

The Cape Cod explorer jumped into the waters off the coast of Provincetown, Mass., Friday when he found himself in an odd and dangerous situation.

SEE ALSO: Beluga whale gives Nova Scotia fisherman a surprise of a lifetime

"I got down to about 45 feet of water, and all of a sudden I just felt this huge bump, and everything went dark," Packard told WBZ-TV News. "And I could sense that I was moving, and I was like, '"Oh, my God, did I just get bit by a shark?'"

Fortunately for Packard it wasn't a shark that caught him by surprise, but rather a humpback whale. It still wasn't a position he wanted to be in, though, as he ended up inside the whale's mouth.

Michael Packard/WBZ Michael Packard found himself in a troubling and unusual spot after diving into the waters off the coast of Provincetown, Mass. -- inside the mouth of a humpback whale. (WBZ)

"Then I felt around, and I realized there was no teeth and I had felt, really, no great pain," Packard said. "And then I realized, 'Oh, my God, I'm in a whale's mouth. I'm in a whale's mouth, and he's trying to swallow me.'"

An experienced diver, Packard still had his breathing apparatus on while inside the whale's mouth, he further told the media outlet.

"One of the things that went through my mind was just, 'Oh, my God, what if he does swallow me, and here I am, I'm breathing air, and I'm going to breathe in this whale's mouth until my air runs out?'" he said.

"I thought to myself, 'OK, this is it. I'm going to die.' And I thought about my kids and my wife," Packard added. "There was no getting out of there."


Packard estimated he spent about 30 seconds trapped inside the mammal before it surfaced and spat him out.

"I couldn't believe it," Packard said. "I couldn't believe I got out of that. And I'm here to tell it."

Humpback whale/Thomas Kelley (Unsplash) (Thomas Kelley (Unsplash))

Capt. Joe Francis, who was leading a fishing charter close by at the time, told WBZ that Packard is "damn lucky to be alive.”

“Then I saw Mike come flying out of the water feet first with his flippers on and land back in the water,” Francis said.

“I jumped aboard the boat. We got him up, got his tank off. Got him on the deck and calmed him down and he goes, ‘Joe, I was in the mouth of a whale’ he goes ‘I can’t believe it, I was in the mouth of a whale Joe!’

After escaping the clutches of the whale, Packard was grabbed out of the water by a crewmate and then rushed ashore to be taken to hospital in the area. When all was said and done, Packard stated he was "all bruised up," but fully intact.

Jooke Robbins, a biologist and director of humpback whale studies at Provincetown's Center for Coastal Studies, told CNN the strange encounter was most likely an accident.

"We don't really see humpback whales doing anything like this normally," Robbins said. "I think it was a surprise to all involved."

Thumbnail courtesy of Thomas Kelley (Unsplash).

Nathan Howes can be followed on Twitter: @HowesNathan.

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