A fisherman miraculously gets out of the mouth of a whale he "swallowed" during a fishing trip

A Massachusetts fisherman narrowly escaped death Friday after he was briefly "swallowed" by a humpback whale before tossing it alive in the ocean.

"Hello everyone, I want to tell you what happened to me today," wrote fisherman Michael Packard, who hails from Provincetown, about 200 kilometers east of Boston, after the story reached the local Cape Cod Times.

"I was diving for lobster (shrimp) when the humpback whale tried to eat me. I stayed in its closed buccal for 30 to 40 seconds, before it came to the surface and tossed me. My body is full of bruises, but none of my bones are broken. I thank the relief teams in Provincetown for their care. and help them,” after being hospitalized for a short period.

In response to a question by local channel CBSN Boston, Michael Packard explained that he was diving at a depth of about 13 meters when "suddenly I felt a strong blow and everything turned black."

At first he thought he had been attacked by a shark.

But while he was still able to breathe thanks to the snorkel, he wasn't feeling any pain from a shark bite, "and that's when I realized what was happening and said 'Oh my God, I'm in a whale's mouth trying to swallow me'."

"I was thinking I was going to die. I thought about my children and my wife and that it was impossible to get out of here. Suddenly the whale came back on the surface and started moving its head and threw me in the air and I landed in the water. I was free and I simply floated... I couldn't believe I came out unscathed. I'm here to tell what happened to me."

This story appears to have at least one witness considered credible, Josiah Mayo, who accompanied Packard on the fishing trip and followed him from the ship.

He was the one who helped pull it out and called relief personnel for support.

Josiah Mayo is the son of a whale researcher and expert at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, the region where whales feed this season, Jock Robbins, director of studies for humpback whales at the center, told AFP.

"I know the people involved (...) so I have every reason to believe what they say," Robbins said.

Although she did not see anything and could not be certain of what happened, nor had she ever heard of such an “incident”, “he (the fisherman) may have been in the wrong place and at the wrong moment,” according to Robbins.

- “Stay away” - The expert pointed out that these whales, when they are hungry, “go deep into the water with an open mouth and swallow the fish and water very quickly and then expel the water through the baleen (whalebone), which works in a manner similar to a “filter”.

"Her buccal is very wide," Robbins explained, but "her throat is narrow and she cannot swallow anything as large as a human being."

She pointed out that the whale, which witnesses described as a juvenile, "did not quickly detect an intruder" in its stomach.

It is possible that he was “surprised when the man swallowed” and opened his mouth to expel him.

But despite not knowing the full details, there is a clear conclusion for this specialist: As tourists began returning to the Provincetown and Cape Cod area 15 months after the pandemic began, “it is important for people to be aware” of the existence of these huge mammals, which range between 9 and 15 meters in length, depending on for age.

"If you see a whale, stay away from it," said Jock Robbins. "It's important to leave room for the whales."