A humpback whale swallowed a fisherman in the United States and returned to the water a few seconds later while diving for crabs on Friday (11).
Michael Packard says he was snorkeling when he ended up in the mouth of the marine giant off the coast of Provincetown, Massachusetts.
The panic lasted between 30 and 40 seconds. Next, the animal, Packard, who had only a dislocated knee, spat.
Despite his wife’s pleas for him to change his job, he says he has no intention of giving up his 40-year career on Cape Cod, a peninsula in far eastern Massachusetts.
Humpback whales can grow up to 15 meters in length and weigh about 36 tons.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the world population is about 60,000 specimens.
Packard, 56, told the local Cape Cod Times that he and his colleagues sailed to Hering Cove Beach on Friday morning when diving conditions were excellent, with a clear view from the sea, about 6 metres.
After he jumped into the water in his scuba gear, Packard told local WBZ-TV News that he felt “a big hit and then it got dark.”
“She’s trying to swallow me.”
The fisherman thought he was attacked by one of the great white sharks swimming in the area.
“So I started feeling the sides and felt like I had no teeth,” he said.
That’s when I realized, ‘Oh my God, I’m in the mouth of a whale and it’s trying to swallow me. That’s right, I will die. “
Packard says he thought of his wife and two children, ages 12 and 15.
“Then all of a sudden, he came… and started shaking his head.”
“She threw me in the air and I fell into the water. I was free and I just floated there. I couldn’t believe it…and today I’m here to say.”
His colleague, desperately searching the water for bubbles from Packard’s oxygen respirator, dragged him into the boat.
The Provincetown Fire Department confirmed to CBS News that it responded to a call at 8:15 a.m. local time to help an injured lobster fisherman on Provincetown Beach.
Humpback whales tend to feed by opening their mouths wide to swallow as many prey as possible, usually fish or krill.
So some marine scientists think what happened to Packard may have been purely accidental, with one expert telling the Cape Cod Times that a human ingestion by a whale is extremely rare — or unheard of.
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