Vet Voices

Man Swallowed by Whale



Michael Packard has been making a living for years diving for lobsters off the coast of Cape Cod.

But on Friday – for a few seconds – he says he almost became the prey… when he ended up inside the jaws of a humpback whale.

All of a sudden, I just felt this huge bump, and everything went dark.

Michael Packard, diver

A veteran lobster diver, Packard was hoping to make a catch.

But he says he almost ended up on the menu for a medium-sized humpback whale.

I thought to myself, okay, this is it. This is…I finally…I’m going to die.

Michael Packard, diver

For 30 terrifying seconds, Packard says he was trapped in the whale’s mouth.

And then all of a sudden, he went up to the surface and just erupted and started shaking his head and I just got thrown in the air and landed in the water and I was free

Michael Packard, diver

The whale does not want a human dessert.

Dr. Iain Kerr is a marine biologist at the Ocean Alliance — he’s been studying whales in Cape Cod for more than a decade.

I’ve been in this business for 30 years and this is second time I’ve heard of it happening.

Dr. Iain Kerr, marine biologist

This area down by Provincetown is a highly productive area which is why the fisherman are there, the lobsterman divers are there, it’s why the whales are there… basically he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Dr. Iain Kerr, marine biologist

Kerr says humpbacks — which can grow anywhere from 25 to 40 tons — are gentle giants… that pose no threat to humans.

I think he’s very lucky. I think he’s very lucky. It could’ve been a nasty situation but i am sure the whale was almost as freaked out as Michael was.

Dr. Iain Kerr, marine biologist

Packard is bruised and battered… but happy to be alive and tell the tale.

As soon as I’m healed up, I’ll be back in the water.

Michael Packard, diver

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