Lobster diver Michael Packard headed for his second dive of the day off Herring Cove Beach, in Provincetown, Massachusetts, a little after 8am yesterday (Friday 11 June) when he had a once in a lifetime experience.
About 10ft from the sandy bottom, the 56-year-old was readying himself to start scouring for lobsters, but got picked off before he got a chance - by a humpback whale.
"All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black," Packard told the Cape Cod Times.
"I could sense I was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth."
After the initial shock, he figured he must be inside the mouth of a shark, but after feeling no teeth he realised he had been consumed by a whale. Nevertheless, he was certain of his fate.
Michael said: "I was completely inside; it was completely black.
"I thought to myself, 'There's no way I'm getting out of here. I'm done, I'm dead.' All I could think of was my boys - they're 12 and 15 years old."
Clad in his scuba gear, Michael struggled inside the mammal - which can grow up to 50ft (15m) in length - for around half a minute, before he was mercifully ejected back into the water.
"Then all of a sudden he went up to the surface and just erupted and started shaking his head," he told WBZ-TV News.
"I just got thrown in the air and landed in the water. I was free and I just floated there. I couldn't believe... I'm here to tell it."
That's a good point actually - beyond the obvious disappointment of dying, it would be pretty gutting to have a story like that but no opportunity to tell it, wouldn't it?
Captain Joe Francis - who was heading a fishing charter nearby - witnessed the moment he was released from the whale.
He said: "He's damn lucky to be alive.
"I saw Mike come flying out of the water feet first with his flippers on and land back in the water.
"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!'"
However, Mike's thoughts quickly turned to the agonising pain he was in and he was rushed to Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis.
Fortunately, his legs were not broken, as feared, and he was released the same day - free to tell his epic whale tale.
Featured Image Credit: Packard family
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