It happened in the United States. And more specifically, the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Massachusetts. It was there that Michael Packard experienced the craziest adventure - or rather misadventure - of his entire life. And for good reason.
Swallowed whole by a humpback whale
This fisherman was hunting for lobsters at a depth of about 13 metres. Suddenly, he was... swallowed by a passing humpback whale. He recounts the details in an interview with the Cape Cod Times.
I was diving for lobsters when a humpback whale tried to eat me. I was in its closed mouth for 30 to 40 seconds.
In an interview for CBSN Boston, he then confided:
All of a sudden I felt this huge blow and everything went black. [...] Oh my God, I'm in a whale's mouth, and it's trying to swallow me.
The man first thought he had been bitten by a shark then thought of his death.
I thought about my kids, my wife, there's really no way out of this.
No serious injury
Fortunately for him, the huge whale eventually spat him out, as he details:
It burst through the surface, shook its head. I was thrown into the air and landed in the water. And I was free, I was just floating... I couldn't believe I'd made it. Totally crazy, right?
And this incredible testimony is not over: indeed, Michael Packard does not seem to suffer any serious injury but only 'bruises everywhere',' without one fracture!
Do you find this story hard to believe? Well, it seems to be true, since a reliable witness was present at the scene. That witness is Josiah Mayo, the son of one of the whale researchers and experts at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown. Not just anyone, then.
Another question: how is this possible? The answer is provided by Jooke Robbins, director of humpback whale studies: 'It's possible that the fisherman was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,' given that whales, when looking for food,
[Whales]rush in with their mouths open and swallow the fish and water very quickly, then throw the water back out through their baleen plates.