The story is incredible, yet a witness affirms it and it has been deemed credible by specialists.

In the United States, in Massachusetts, a lobster fisherman spent 30 to 40 seconds in the mouth of a humpback whale before being finally spat out by the marine mammal.

He is alive and told of his adventure. 

It's a Pinocchio story, which could be taken for a hoax if it were not deemed credible by whale specialists: a Massachusetts lobster fisherman was "swallowed" briefly by a humpback whale on Friday, before to be thrown back into the ocean, alive, and able to tell his story. 

"I felt this huge blow and everything went black"

"Hi everyone, just want to clarify what happened to me today," wrote fisherman Michael Packard, originally from Provincetown, nearly 200 miles east of Boston, after the story came to the ears of the local newspaper, the Cape Cod Times. “I was diving for lobsters when a humpback whale tried to eat me. I was in its mouth shut for 30 to 40 seconds, before it came to the surface and spit me out. I have bruises all over it, but no broken bones. I thank the Provincetown rescuers for their care and help, "he wrote, after being briefly hospitalized.

Asked by the local CBSN Boston channel, Michael Packard said he was about 13 meters deep when "suddenly, I felt this huge blow and everything went black". He first thought he had been bitten by a shark. But as he continued to breathe, thanks to his dive regulator, he felt no teeth, no big pain. "So I realized, 'Oh my God, I'm in a whale's mouth, and it's trying to swallow me.'"

"I thought, 'This is it (...), I'm going to die.' And I thought about my kids, my wife, there's really no way out of this. And suddenly she has burst to the surface, started shaking my head. I was thrown into the air and landed in the water. And I was free, I was just floating ... not to believe that I got out of it. And I'm here to tell it. "

A witness worthy of faith 

It turns out that Michael Packard has at least one witness, deemed reliable: Josiah Mayo, who accompanied him in this fishing and followed him, to the bubbles, from their boat. He was the one who helped rescue him and called rescuers for help. Josiah Mayo is the son of one of the whale researchers and experts at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, a region where whales feed in this season, Jooke Robbins, director of center humpback whale studies. 

"I know the people involved (...) so I have every reason to believe what they are saying is true," she said.

Although she did not see anything and cannot be sure what happened, and had never heard of such an "accident" until now, "it is possible that (the fisherman ) was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, ”she said.

"Their mouth is quite wide", but "their throat is quite narrow"

When these whales are in search of food, "they charge with their mouths open, and swallow fish and water very quickly, then reject the water through their baleen," which acts "like a filter," he said. she explains. "Their mouth is quite wide", but "their throat is quite narrow, there is no way they could swallow anything big" like a man, she continued. The whale - which, according to witnesses' descriptions, was still young - may "not have detected quickly enough that there was an intruder" in its catch, she explained. Once the man "swallowed", it is possible that she "was rather surprised and opened her mouth to get him out".

Even if we do not know all the details, for this specialist, one conclusion is in order: while the region of Provincetown and Cape Cod see returning tourists after 15 months of pandemic, "it is important that people are aware" of these powerful marine mammals, which generally measure, according to the age, between 9 and 15 meters. “If you see a whale, keep a safe distance. It's really important to give the whales some space,” Jooke Robbins warned.