PROVINCETOWN — At a small before 8 a.m. Friday, veteran lobster diver Michael Packard gone into the water because that his second dive the the day.

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His vessel, the “Ja’n J,” was off Herring Cove Beach and surrounded through a fleet of boats catching striped bass. The water temperature to be a balmy 60 degrees and the visibility about 20 feet.

Licensed advertising lobster divers accurate pluck lobsters turn off the sandy bottom, and as Packard, 56, dove down Friday morning, he saw institutions of sand lances and stripers swim by.

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The ocean food chain to be in complete evidence, but around 10 feet indigenous the bottom Packard all of sudden knew what it important felt prefer to be component of that chain.

In something important biblical, Packard to be swallowed whole by a humpback whale.

“All of a sudden, i felt this huge shove and also the next thing i knew it was totally black,” Packard recalled Friday afternoon adhering to his relax from Cape cod Hospital in Hyannis.

“I can sense i was moving, and also I can feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth,” that said.

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Initially, Packard believed he was within a an excellent white shark, however he couldn’t feel any kind of teeth and also he hadn’t suffered any type of obvious wounds. It conveniently dawned ~ above him that he had been swallowed through a whale.

“I was fully inside; that was totally black,” Packard said. “I thought to myself, ‘there’s no means I’m getting out the here. I’m done, ns dead.’ every I could think of to be my guys — they’re 12 and also 15 years old.”

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Outfitted through scuba gear, he struggled and the whale began shaking its head so that Packard can tell that didn’t choose it. He approximated he was in the whale for 30 come 40 seconds prior to the whale finally surfaced.

“I experienced light, and also he started throwing his head side to side, and the next thing ns knew ns was external (in the water),” stated Packard, who lives in Wellfleet.

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Packard’s sister, Cynthia Packard, spoke v crewman Josiah Mayo, that relayed some of the details come her. Packard claimed Mayo witnessed the whale burst come the surface, and also that he initially thought it to be a great white shark.

“There was all this activity at the peak of the water,” Packard said Mayo called her. Climate the whale flung she brother back into the sea. Mei picked him up, dubbed by radio come shore and also sped ago to the Provincetown pier. A Provincetown Fire room ambulance took him come Cape ko Hospital.

“Thank God, it wasn’t a white shark. That sees them all the moment out there,” claimed Cynthia Packard. “He must have thought he to be done.”

How do humpback whales eat?

"Based top top what to be described, this would need to be a mistake and an accident top top the part of the humpback," stated Jooke Robbins, manager of Humpback Whale researches at the facility for seaside Studies in Provincetown. Humpbacks space not aggressive animals, particularly toward humans, she said.

The humpback was explained by mei as being medium-sized, Michael Packard said, and also Robbins doubt it was a youth feeding on sand lance. When a humpback opens its mouth come feed, the billows out like a parachute, impede the animal’s forward vision, i m sorry is why for this reason many become entangled in fishing equipment in your mouth and jaws, stated Robbins.

Even so, incidents of feeding humpbacks injuring swimmers and also divers, especially instances of swallowing them, room so exceedingly rare as to be nonexistent, Robbins said. The esophagus on nontoothed whales is too small to in reality swallow a human however they couldwrap your mouth around a huge object and also then spit it out. Robbins claimed that, uneven toothed whales together as Orcas, baleen whales the filter out small schooling fish execute not explore or cause injuries v their mouths. They normally use their tail.

"It is not something I have heard keep going before," Robbins claimed of the occurrence Friday. "So countless things would certainly have had actually to happen to end up in the route of a feeding whale."

How was a male swallowed by a whale?

Charles “Stormy” Mayo, a senior scientist and also whale professional at the center for coastal Studies, agreed the was most likely an inadvertently encounter. It requires a commonwealth permit for expert photographers and researchers to get close to whales underwater, however there are locations of the human being where that is usually allowed.

“People direct dive on castle (humpbacks) in the tropics, not here. In those locations I’m not aware of a solitary incident of people having troubles with them,” mayo said. 

Packard crewman Josiah mei is Stormy Mayo’s son.

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“Michael (Packard) is a smart man and an excellent diver,” Stormy mei said. “For that to happen to him, you can be sure he did everything he was supposed to do.”

Packard was released from Cape ko Hospital Friday afternoon with what he defined as “a most soft organization damage” but no damaged bones. He said he’d return to diving as shortly as he was healed.


What perform lobster divers do?

Commercial lobster divers room a challenging breed. Lock brave the cold waters off Provincetown come grab moving lobsters turn off a sandy shelf once they emerge from an adjacent deep channel scoured the end by the powerful current rounding gyeongju Point.

It’s a spot that is fraught with danger. The crewman topside keeps track of the diver below by adhering to his bubbles together he is driven by those solid currents. Divers have been dragged the end to sea — that happened to Packard once and he treaded water for hours before being rescued — and he when found and also recovered the dead body of a other diver.

Packard has had his share of close calls. For years, he to be an abalone diver ~ above the West shore in an area with good white sharks that have a background of attacking divers; he shed some friends come the predators.

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Michael Packard additionally survived a plane crash

Ten year ago, while travel in Costa Rica, he to be a passenger in a small plane the crashed in the jungle, death the pilot, co-pilot and a passenger. Packard sustained multiple serious injuries come his abdomen and also upper body. The rescuers that found the remaining 5 passengers after 2 nights in the jungle claimed they wouldn’t have actually survived one more night.

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Packard think he may be the last lobster diver in Provincetown.

“It’s a strenuous job,” claimed charter watercraft fisherman Dave “Spider” Gibson, standing top top Provincetown’s MacMillan Pier Friday afternoon. “He’s the ideal lobster diver I’ve ever before seen. He knows what he’s doing.”