A lobsterman from the United States described how he narrowly avoided being swallowed by a humpback whale off the coast of Cape Cod after he was in its mouth for 30-40 seconds.
After being released from a Cape Cod hospital, Michael Packard, 56, of Wellfleet, told WBZ-TV that he was about 45 feet (14 meters) deep in the waters off Provincetown on Friday when "all of a sudden I felt this huge bump, and everything went dark."
He assumed he'd been attacked by a shark, which are abundant in the area's seas, but he couldn't feel any teeth and wasn't in any pain, reports The Guardian.
"Then I realized, oh my God, I'm in a whale's mouth ... and he's trying to swallow me," he said. "And I thought to myself OK, this is it – I'm finally – I'm gonna die." His thoughts went to his wife and children.
He believes he was in the whale's mouth for 30-40 seconds, yet he continued to breathe because his breathing apparatus was still in place.
The whale then emerged from the water, shook its head, and spat him out. He was later rescued by his crewmate in the surface boat.
His sister, Cynthia Packard, originally told the Cape Cod Times that her brother broke a leg, but he said later that his legs are just bruised.
Packard was left with nothing more than a probable dislocated knee as the leviathan spat him out.
Charles "Stormy" Mayo, a senior scientist and whale expert at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, told the newspaper that such human-whale encounters are rare.
Humpbacks are not aggressive and Mayo thinks it was an accidental encounter while the whale was feeding on fish, likely sand lance.