Michael Packard said he was underwater when he felt a shove. Then things went completely black, and he realized a whale was in the process of swallowing him. “I could sense I was moving, and I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth,” he said.
At first, Packard thought his attacker was a great white shark, but he hadn’t suffered any serious wounds that a shark’s razor-sharp teeth would cause. That’s when he realized he was in the mouth of a whale.
“I was completely inside; it was completely black,” Packard said. “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.”
Wearing scuba gear, he struggled and the whale responded by shaking its head. Then the animal abruptly surfaced.
“Then all of a sudden, he went up to the surface and just erupted and started shaking his head,” he said. “I just got thrown in the air and landed in the water. I was free and I just floated there. I couldn’t believe I’m here to tell it.”
The 57-year-old fisherman, husband and dad to two teenage boys has “led a pretty unique and rather dangerous life,” who’s known as “one of the best fishermen on the Wharf,” according to Packer’s crewmate, Josiah Mayo.
Joe Francis, who was working on his fishing boat nearby, told a television station he also witnessed Packard’s narrow escape.
— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) July 11, 2021
Speaking to the Australian version of 60 Minutes on Sunday night, fisherman Packard revealed more details of the encounter with the humpback.
“I was on my third dive … swimming down just like I’ve done for thirty years … and I almost got to the bottom and I just got hit by a freight train out of nowhere just got boom and then everything went dark,” Packard said.
“It took me about five seconds to realize I was in that whale’s mouth.
I’m traveling through the water, like fast, he’s like cruising through the water and water is just pouring in through his mouth and just, as soon as it happened, my regulator, it came out of my mouth.
Watch the full episode of Australian 60 Minutes:
“Thank God the regulator didn’t fall behind my back. It was like, kind of pressed up between his mouth and me. Cause it was kind of tight in there. And I just saw my regulator there and I put it back in my mouth. and went okay, I got air, but I’m still in here.
When asked if he could feel the whale’s “tongue,” Packer said: “I just felt all hard muscles around me.
“I could feel as like, I think it was, his jaws kind of crushing my legs and I’m trying to like move my legs so I could get into position to like swim out of his mouth.
“But none of that was working.”
He said he was “convinced” he was going to die.
His expulsion from the whale’s mouth created quite a commotion according to the Mayo.
“I just saw this huge commotion on a surface and eruption of water, just a slashing of white water.
“We had this whale absolutely going berserk and suddenly within the boiling commotion up comes Michael, he comes sort of flying into the air, clearing the surface of the water for sure.
“He came out sort of upside down with his legs, sort of uprights, sort of like, you know, divers, it looked like frog legs, you know, with his fins on there or a boogie board or getting hammered in surf or something.”
MSN reported that it was highly probably the story is true. “What about the ‘minor’ injuries that Packard suffered,” the news site wrote. “Were they analogous to what a human might be subjected to after being ingested and then dis-ingested by a baleen whale? Since the baleen could be likened to a fine-meshed net with all its hard parts (whalebone) cushioned by a thin layer of fleshy ‘skin’ and hairs, I’d have to say that minor injuries of Packard’s condition would certainly be likely.”
There are similarities to Jonah, where a man is swallowed but not by a whale. The Bible says God provided a huge fish for Jonah, and instead of being inside the fish for at least half a minute, Jonah was inside the fish for three days.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice