Man’s Account Of Being Swallowed By Humpback Whale Doubted By Doctors

by : Cameron Frew on : 13 Jun 2021 09:49
Man's Account Of Being Swallowed By Humpback Whale Doubted By DoctorsNBC 10 Boston/Pexels

Experts are sceptical over a Massachusetts lobsterman who was swallowed whole by a whale and lived to tell the tale.

On Friday, June 11, veteran commercial lobster diver Michael Packard was out on his boat, the ‘Ja’n J’, just off Herring Cove Beach. As he was around 10ft from the seabed, the world went dark very quickly.


Apparently, the 57-year-old had been accidentally swallowed by a humpback whale, who later came to the surface and threw him out of its mouth, emerging with few injuries. It’s an incredible story, but it’s raised the eyebrows of some experts.


‘All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove and the next thing I knew it was completely black. I could sense I was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth… I was completely inside; it was completely black,’ he explained to the Cape Cod Times.

After around 30-40 seconds, the whale swam to the surface and thrashed it’s head side-to-side until Packard was out of its mouth. ‘He reportedly ascended from a 45ft depth in 20-40 seconds and didn’t have any evidence of barotrauma,’ a Cap Cod Hospital doctor said, as per the New York Post.


After being taken to hospital, he was released the same day with ‘a lot of soft tissue damage’ and no broken bones.

A Bay State lobsterman also said: ‘People who are in the fishing industry, and people who know whales, are finding this hard to believe. It’s a first-ever that this would happen… for a guy to be in the middle of that giant school of fish corralled by a whale doesn’t make sense.’

Unlike killer whales, great whites and other predators, humpbacks are toothless filter feeders with throats too narrow to swallow a human. They have no interest in chomping on us, making Packard’s accident even more extraordinary.


Featured Image Credit: NBC 10 Boston/Pexels

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Animals, Massachusetts, US, Whale


Cape Cod Times and 2 others
  1. Cape Cod Times

    'I was completely inside': Lobster diver swallowed by humpback whale off Provincetown

  2. New York Post

    Cape Cod lobsterman’s whale of a tale sounds fishy, experts say

  3. WCVB Channel 5 Boston/YouTube

    Mass. lobster diver swallowed by humpback whale off Cape Cod coast