Cape Cod diver left with tale whale after humpback whale spat it out
Michael Packard was diving off Provincetown, Massachusetts on Friday when the capital’s cetacean surprised him.
“Then I felt around and realized that there were no teeth and that I really hadn’t felt much pain,” Packard said. “And then I realized, ‘Oh, my God, I’m in the mouth of a whale. I’m in the mouth of a whale, and he’s trying to swallow me.'”
Packard, an experienced diver, told WBZ he still had his breathing apparatus in the whale’s mouth.
“One of the things that came to my mind was just, ‘Oh, my God, and if he swallows me, and here I am, I’m breathing air, and I’m going to breathe in my mouth. of this whale until my there is no more air? ‘”he said.
“I was like, ‘OK, this is it. I’m going to die.’ And I thought of my children and my wife, ”he said. “There was no way out of there.”
After what Packard estimated to be around 30 seconds in the mammal’s mandibles, he said the whale quickly surfaced and spat it out.
“All of a sudden it came to the surface and erupted and started shaking its head,” Packard said. “I just got thrown in the air and landed in the water and was free and just floated in there.”
“I couldn’t believe it,” he added. “I couldn’t believe I got away with it. And I’m here to say it.”
“A surprise for all the participants”
Packard was pulled out of the water by a teammate, rushed to the ground and taken to a nearby hospital. In the end, Packard said, he was “all bruised,” but whole.
Biologist Jooke Robbins, director of humpback whale studies at the Provincetown Coastal Studies Center, said the unusual encounter was most likely an accident.
“We don’t really see humpback whales doing something like this normally,” Robbins told CNN. “I think it was a surprise to everyone involved.”
Robbins said humpback whales often engage in something called “slot feeding,” in which a fast moving whale tries to quickly collect a large volume of food in its mouth.
“When they do that, they don’t necessarily see everything,” she said.
She added that it was unlikely that Packard was swallowed because, despite their massive mouths, their throats are not large enough for a person to fit through.
Charles Mayo, also a marine biologist at the Center for Coastal Studies, agreed.
“It’s like sitting down for a really good meal, and a fly flies in your mouth,” he told CNN.
Mayo said his son, Josiah, was the captain of Packard’s boat, responsible for following the diver’s movements using his air bubbles. Mayo told CNN he was there when his son brought Packard to shore, and emergency services immobilized him and took him to a hospital.
Mayo, like Robbins, could not recall a similar situation in which a diver found himself in the mouth of a humpback whale.
Packard was in real danger, Mayo said, if not because of the whale’s esophagus, but because of atmospheric pressure in his own lungs when the whale surfaced to spit it out.
“If you go up to atmospheric pressure and hold your breath, you could develop an embolism,” Mayo said.
“He had to keep his cool,” Mayo said. “To get out of such a situation, you have to be a great pro.”
“The reason he’s still around is because he’s smart,” Mayo said of Packard. “He’s a smart guy, he’s a tough guy and he’s a lucky guy.”