Man Describes Being Swallowed by Humpback Whale: ‘I’m Done, I’m Dead’

The man, who thought he was going to die, described how he survived being swallowed by a huge humpback whale, which squeezed him in its mouth.

In June of last year, near Provincetown, Massachusetts, Michael Packard, a 56-year-old lobster fisherman, discovered himself trapped within the jaws of a humpback whale.

He encountered an unexpected abundance of marine creatures while diving for lobsters on the seabed near Herring Cove Beach on a Friday morning.

Packard informed the Cape Cod Times, “It was a typical day for me. I head out precisely at sunrise. I enter the water and I completed two dives. Then, during the third dive, I descended towards the ocean floor. Suddenly, I experienced a forceful impact. It felt similar to a freight train collision… And in an instant, everything turned dark.”

Packard had been engulfed by the jaws of a humpback whale, a creature that is frequently spotted along the Massachusetts shoreline.

Humpbacks store their small krill prey inside their mouths and filter water through a highly delicate keratin comb, which is composed of the same protein found in human hair and nails. As baleen whales, they lack teeth and rely on this unique comb-like structure.

Surprisingly Enormous Quarry

Along the South African shoreline, a guide for sightseeing was completely enveloped and then expelled by a Bryde’s whale during other occurrences of being inside a whale’s mouth. On certain occasions, humpbacks and other filter-feeding whales appear to inadvertently capture larger creatures within their mouths quite frequently, even though they do not consume such sizable prey.

He stated, “I had a perception that I was in motion, and I could perceive the whale exerting pressure with the muscles in its oral cavity.” “I have completed my actions, I am deceased.” The only thing occupying my mind was my sons — they are currently 12 and 15 years old.” “I internally pondered, ‘it is highly improbable for me to escape from this situation.

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The whale appeared to notice that it could chew off more than it had initially bitten, so it started to try and spit out the Packard.

I think I’m going to live, but I know I’m messed up. I was just looking up at the sky, floating on the surface. But there I was, just like I’m God. I started shaking his head erratically and suddenly got to the surface. And then he started going up, like a whale.

Packard estimates that he was inside the whale for approximately 40 seconds.

He wasn’t able to swallow it in the true sense of the word. It is scientifically impossible for a human to swallow a whale, as their throats can only stretch to a maximum diameter of around 15 inches and are only the size of a human fist. However, a humpback whale can easily fit a human inside its huge 10-foot mouth, as Nicola Hodgins from the U.K. Nonprofit organization Dolphin and Whale Conservation told National Geographic.

Fortunately for Packard, the average shoulder width of a human male is greater than 16 inches.

Packard exclaimed, “Upon reaching the correct altitude, he approached and I was able to breathe. My lungs didn’t burst. Or anything like that, I didn’t experience decompression sickness, so I continued to breathe. Thank goodness.”

Josiah Mayo, a crewman, picked up Packard who was taken to Cape Cod Hospital by an ambulance from the Provincetown Fire Department. Packard was then taken back to the pier by the ambulance and the crewman called for assistance using the radio.

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