humpback whale

Man Describes Being Swallowed By Humpback Whale: “I’m Done, I’m Dead”

Many have experienced what you could call near-death experiences. Maybe you stepped onto the road too soon only to have a car zoom by almost hitting you, maybe you almost choked on that piece of food you should have chewed a little longer, but how many of us can claim to have been swallowed by a whale? Well, this happened to one man and he’s recounting his experience. Just last year, Michael Packard, a commercial lobster diver, found himself in the mouth of a humpback whale (1). The incident took place near Provincetown, Massachusetts. The diver had been searching for lobsters on the seabed. Unbeknownst to him, he was about to get up close and internal with a massive whale. 

Speaking to the Cape Cod Times, Packard stated, “It was just a normal day for me. I go out right at sunrise. I get in the water and I did two dives. And then the third dive, I dove down and I was descending to the bottom. And I just got slammed. Just like a freight train… and then all of a sudden it went black.

As it turns out, the diver had been swept up into the mouth of a humpback whale. The large sea mammals frequent the coast in the area.

Humpback Whale Spits Man out After Swallowing Accidently 

Humpback whales usually don’t eat large prey, but they sometimes take in large prey accidentally. This has happened in the past, but its rare. In 2019 a Bryde’s whale engulfed and further spat out Rainer Schimpf, a tour guide off of the South African coast (2).

Recounting his experience Packard said, “I could sense I was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth. 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.

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Michael Packard, a 56-year-old lobster diver in the Cape Cod Hospital after his encounter with the humpback whale
Michael Packard, a 56-year-old lobster diver in the Cape Cod Hospital after his encounter with the humpback whale. Image Credit: Packard Family via Cape Cod Times

As it happens, even the humpback whale noticed that something felt different and tried spitting Packard out. “And then the whale started going up. All of a sudden it just got to the surface and he started shaking his head and getting all erratic… and then boom! I fly out of his mouth. And I’m like, ‘Oh my god.’ But there I was just floating on the surface. And I was just looking up in the sky. I’m f****d up, I know, but I think I’m going to live.

Packard further highlighted how grateful he was to survive the incident, “Thank God I kept breathing, so I didn’t get the bends, or whatever. My lungs didn’t explode. I was breathing and he came up at the right ascent.” (3)

Read: SeaWorld horror as killer whales attempts to drown trainer in resurfaced footage

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Back To Safety

Josiah Mayo, a crewman, picked up Packard and then took him back to the shore. There, an ambulance was already waiting for him to take him to the hospital in Cape Cod. The story is so incredible that David Abel, a staffer at Boston Globe and a filmmaker, is already making a film on it.

Packard, though, claimed to not be too perturbed by his experience. He said that he did not get any “new outlook on life” like the ones he had heard other people talk about after going through a near-death experience. After just 3 weeks, Packard was back to being a lobster diver. He explained that always is a bit of concern before he takes the dive, however, after he dives, the thoughts disappear.

Packards story was so popular last year, that he was a guest on the Jimmy Kimmel show. You can check that out below.

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Keep Reading: Polar bears caught feeding on a whale carcass in breathtaking photos

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  1. ‘I was completely inside’: Lobster diver swallowed by humpback whale off ProvincetownCape Cod Times. June 11, 2021 | Updated June 9, 2022.
  2. South African man escapes jaws of whale” The Guardian. March 11, 2019.
  3. DIVER SWALLOWED BY A HUMPBACK WHALE LIVES TO TELL THE TALEThe Independent. June 15, 2022.
Mayukh Saha
Freelance Writer
Mayukh is a Content Marketer and Social Media Manager with over 5 years of experience in the industry. Mayukh believes in the power of content; how it can positively impact lives, scale businesses and touch people. In his spare time Mayukh likes to read about latest tech trends and loves to travel in the nature. You can reach him at [email protected]
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