Cape Cod Diver Who Was ‘Swallowed by Whale’ Tells Absolutely Wild Survival Story

by Taylor Cunningham

A Cape Cod diver had a real-life Pinocchio moment when a massive whale attempted to swallow him whole. Luckily, he survived to tell the tale.

The now-viral story took place last June. Early one morning, the diver, Michael Packard, was searching for lobster off the coast of Massachusetts. He claims that when he was 45ft below the surface, he suddenly felt an object hit him with the force of a semi-truck just before he found himself inside a fleshy cavern.

The object was actually a Humpback whale, one of the largest living animals on Earth. The Humpback is typically a gentle creature that lives off of small fish and krill. When the diver was swimming among the whale’s breakfast, it inhaled him in a single gulp. Because the animal can be as large as 56ft long, Packard would have barely been noticeable on his way into its massive mouth.

Once he realized that the pitch-dark cage was actually a predator’s body, Packard, a commercial diver by trade, believed that a giant great white shark had swallowed him. But as soon as he realized that the animal had no teeth, he understood what was happening.

“Oh my God, I’m in the mouth of a whale,” he remembered thinking as he recounted the story to Cape Cod Times. “It could sense I was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth.”

Packard assumed his fate was sealed. And he spent what he believed were his last moments thinking about his children.

“I was completely inside, it was completely black,” he continued. “I thought to myself, ‘There’s no way I’m getting out of here. I’m done, I’m dead.’ All I could think of was my boys — they’re 12 and 15 years old.”

The Diver Survived the Whale Encounter with No Major Injuries

Fortunately, the whale didn’t like the taste of the diver. So the giant animal began shaking its head and swam towards the surface—where it spit him back into the ocean. In total, Packard believes he was inside the mouth for 30 to 40 seconds.

“I saw light, and he started throwing his head side to side, and the next thing I knew I was outside (in the water),” he shared.

Packard’s boat, the Ja’n J, was waiting for him. And on the boat was crewman Josiah Mayo, who later shared his view of the harrowing event with Packard’s sister, Cynthia Packard.

He told her that “there was all this action at the top of the water,” and then he saw the whale throw Packard back into the water. Mayo drove over to pick him up before radioing the shore for help.

When they docked, a Provincetown Fire Department ambulance was waiting. And it drove Packard to Cape Cod Hospital. In the end, Packard only suffered from “a lot of soft tissue damage.”

“Thank God, it wasn’t a white shark,” Cynthia Packard said. “He sees them all the time out there. He must have thought he was done.”