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Man who survived being swallowed whole by whale says last thought was his ‘wife and kids’

Jess Hardiman

| Last updated 

A man who was swallowed up by a whale said he was convinced he was going to die - having even had what he believed would be his final thoughts.

Back in June 2021, lobster diver Michael Packard found himself inside the mouth of a humpback whale, but amazingly ended up being spat out and was able to swim to safety.

Even more amazingly, it wasn't even his first brush with death, having also been involved in a plane crash that killed three people back in 2001.

It wasn't long before his incredible story hit headlines across the world, with Packard going on to take part in a Reddit Ask Me Anything, where he happily responded to all sorts of questions.


Opening up about the horrifying experience, Packard said: "[I was] trapped for about 30-40 seconds. Yes, I was almost convinced I was going to die that day."

His son Jacob - who helped him host the AMA - also revealed how he found out about his dad's close shave.

Michael Packard. Credit: WCVB
Michael Packard. Credit: WCVB

He said: "I got pulled out of Spanish class and got told there was an accident, whale related. Went the rest of the day without further knowledge. Really nerve wracking."


His son also said his dad had no plans for a change of career following the incident, saying lobster diving is Michael's 'life and passion'.

Responding to another question about what he feared could have happened to him while inside the whale, Packard wrote: "I could've suffocated, or drowned if I didn't retrieve my regulator in time."

Thankfully, the whale spat Packard out before swimming off.

Once safely on dry land, the 57-year-old went to hospital, where, as you can probably imagine, he got a bit of a response from medics.


"I said, 'I got stuck in a whale's mouth'," he said.

"All the nurses and doctors at the hospital came to see me and ask me about it.

"One nurse came in with a notepad, she asked me for lottery numbers!"

Amazingly, he lived to tell the tale. Credit: Reddit
Amazingly, he lived to tell the tale. Credit: Reddit

Another person asked him: "What was your 'last thought' when you realised you'd been eaten by a whale?"

To which Packard replied: "My wife and kids."

As well as surviving his recent Jonah-style encounter, the diver also managed to survive a plane crash in Costa Rica in 2001.

Packard was on a flight from San José to Puerto Jimenez when it crashed, killing three people.


He managed to survive the crash but sustained 'severe facial injuries and multiple broken long bones in his arms and legs', according to a report in the Cape Cod Times in 2001.

He and four others passengers survived two nights in the Costa Rican jungle before being found by rescuers.

A doctor who treated the survivors told the Associated Press: "They would not have survived another night at that site."

Somewhat miraculously, Packard didn't sustain any serious injuries during the whale incident, telling Reddit he was left with 'soft tissue damage, nothing serious'.

Topics: US News, Animals

Jess Hardiman
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