PROVINCETOWN, Mass. (AP/WWLP) — A commercial lobster diver was seriously injured Friday morning when he was caught in the mouth of a humpback whale off the coast of Cape Cod, his sister said.
Michael Packard, 56, of Wellfleet, was taken to Cape Cod Hospital with at least one broken leg, his sister, Cynthia Packard, told the Cape Cod Times.
“He was swallowed by the whale, he was in his mouth for about 20 seconds,” she told the newspaper in a phone interview.
In a Facebook post, Packard explained what occurred to him, “I was lobster diving and A humpback whale tried to eat me.I was in his closed mouth for about 30 to 40 seconds before he rose to the surface and spit me out.I am very bruised up but have no broken bones.”
In the same post, he thanked the Provincetown rescue team for helping him.
Cynthia got details of the encounter off of Provincetown from her brother’s crewmate, who at first feared it was a great white shark.
“I have a dislocated knee and just a lot of soft tissue damage in my legs,” he said. “I was also scared that I had maybe a diving injury from coming up too fast or an embolism but everything’s good. The doctor said I’m good.”
Packard was out of the hospital Friday night.
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.