PROVINCETOWN, MASS. (WHDH) - A commercial lobster diver says he’s lucky to be alive after being injured Friday morning when he got caught in the mouth of a humpback whale off the coast of Cape Cod.
Michael Packard, 56, of Wellfleet, told 7NEWS he was on his second dive of the day, about 45 feet below the surface when he encountered the whale.
“I was just about at the bottom and I felt this truck hit me and everything just went dark,” he said. ” I could just feel hard stuff all around me and I just thought, ‘Did I just get eaten by a white shark?’ and I said, ‘No I don’t feel any teeth,’ and I said, ‘Oh my God I am in the mouth of a whale. With his mouth shut.”
Packard said the shock of the realization caused him to lose his breathing regulator. He said he was able to get a hold of it once again while the whale continued swimming.
“I’m like, ‘This is how you’re going to go, Michael. This is how you’re going to die — in the mouth of a whale,” he said.
Packard said he was in the whale’s mouth for 30 to 40 seconds.
“I just thought, ‘Am I just gonna run out of air and suffocate? Is he gonna swallow me? And I was just struggling but I knew there was this massive creature and I wasn’t gonna bust myself out of there. But, I kept struggling and all of a sudden I saw light and I just could feel his head shaking and I got thrown out of his mouth in the water. There’s white water everywhere and I was just on the surface floating.”
In his post on Facebook, Packard thanked the Provincetown rescue squad for their help in rescuing him.
“I’m like, ‘This is how you’re going to go, Michael. This is how you’re going to die — in the mouth of a whale.”Michael Packard
Packard was taken to Cape Cod Hospital for bruising but was lucky to get away without any broken bones. When he got back home, he hugged his 16-year-old son Jacob who helps him out on the boat.
“He was just his normal self,” said Jacob. “I asked if he was alright. I was worried about him. He said, ‘Ah no, It’s just another day. I’m just a little bruised up. I’ll see you for dinner.”
Packard said he feels extremely lucky to be alive
“When I was in that mouth, really there was no question. I thought, ‘This is it. I’m dead,” he said.
Packard, who has also survived a plane crash, said diving for lobsters is a dying industry but he has no plans to change his career now.
“Absolutely not. As soon as I heal up I’ll be right back in the water. It’s my love. I love getting down there in a different world,” he said.
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