June 11, 2021 | 7:00pm | Updated June 11, 2021 | 8:00pm
Michael Packard was swimming near Herring Cove Beach when he was almost eaten alive by the whale.
His name’s not Jonah — but this Cape Cod man sure has something in common with the biblical figure now.
Commercial lobster diver Michael Packard was going about his business off the coast off Provincetown, Mass. when he was swallowed whole by a humpback whale — trapped in its gullet for nearly a minute before being coughed back up, according to a report.
Packard, 56, was about 35 feet below the surface near Herring Cove Beach at 8 a.m. Friday when the massive mammal tried to turn him into breakfast, the Cape Cod Times reported.
“All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black,” Packard told the outlet. “I could sense I was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth.”
Stunned, his first thought was that he’d been snapped up by a great white shark — and was done for.
Packard told the local CBS News affiliate that he thought to himself “This is it, I’m gonna die.”
“I was completely inside [the whale]; it was completely black,” Packard told the Cape Cod Times. “I thought to myself, ‘there’s no way I’m getting out of here. I’m done, I’m dead. All I could think of was my boys, they’re 12 and 15 years old.”
But when he realized he could feel no teeth, he began struggling and felt the whale shaking his head in discomfort, he said
Within 40 seconds the massive mammal spit him back out into the ocean.
“I saw light, and he started throwing his head side-to-side and the next thing I knew I was outside [in the water],” Packard said. “My first thought was I can’t believe I got out of that situation. My second thought was for how injured I was,” Packard said.
His boating pal, Josiah Mayo, saw water spraying as the sea creature surfaced and Packard was ejected, the Cape Cod paper reported.
He plucked Packard out of the sea, and rushed him to a hospital, where he was treated for soft tissue damage to his leg.
Amazingly, Packard said he feels just fine after his remarkable, Pinocchio-style getaway.
“I’m good overall,” he said.
An expert said the whale was likely a juvenile, and may have swallowed Packard accidentally, not seeing the diver while his mouth was open wide to scoop up little fish.
“Based on what was described this would have to be a mistake and an accident on the part of the humpback,” said Jooke Robbins, director of Humpback Whale Studies at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown.
“It is not something I have heard happening before,” she said. “So many things would have had to happen to end up in the path of a feeding whale.”