Deep Dives Level Up Newsletters Saved Articles Challenges

Man who was swallowed by whale admits it isn’t even the scariest thing that has happened to him

By Sam Wareing

Jun 13, 2022

COPY URL

Much like the scene from Pinocchiothe ever occurring retellings of ‘Jonah and the Whale’—Michael Packard from Wellfleet, Massachusetts was actually swallowed by a whale and somehow lived to tell the tale.

On 11 June 2021, Packard was out on a diving trip in the early hours of the morning looking for lobsters. He had completed two successful dives but his third one is where things went belly up.

Talking to WCVB, Packard recounted his incredible ordeal: “I just got slammed. Just like a freight train […] and then all of a sudden it went black. And water was just rushing, rushing around me, and black, and I could feel pressure on my whole body. And I was just moving through the water like wicked fast.”

It was then that it dawned on him what had happened: “And I’m like ‘what the fuck’. And instantly I knew I was in a whale, not a shark […] and then my regulator fell out […] and I was like, ‘I better grab that fucking thing’. And I put it back in my mouth. And I’m in there, and I’m trying to get out, and [the whale’s] fucking freaking out.”

Oh dear. They say the early bird catches the worm, but in this case, it’s the whale that catches the diver.

Trapped in the mouth of one of the biggest creatures on earth, surrounded by rushing water and pitch black, Packard’s thoughts turned to that of his family and his own mortality, as he explained to Cape Cod Times: “‘This is it, Michael. This is it. This is how you die’. And I was 100 per cent sure that […] I wouldn’t get out of this situation. It was a done deal, and I thought about my kids and my wife.”

But as luck would have it, the whale, who’s consumption of Packard was purely accidental, decided it didn’t fancy a human for breakfast and proceeded to launch its accidental snack back out into the ocean.

“All of a sudden [the whale] just got to the surface and he started shaking his head and getting all erratic […] and then boom! I fucking fly out of his mouth. And I’m like, ‘Oh my god’.

If you didn’t have thalassophobia before well, you probably do now. However, believe it or not, this isn’t the scariest thing to happen to Packard.

“What haunts me more is my plane crash,” he added. Yeah, that’s right. Not only has Packard survived being eaten by a whale, he was also involved in a plane crash that left him with a “punctured lung and four broken ribs, 180 stitches in my head [and] cut Achilles,” he explained. He must have been a cat in a previous life because two of his nine lives have been used up.

If you thought that with two near-death experiences under his belt Packard would be taking it easy and indulging in some nice, safe, leisurely activities from now on, then you thought wrong, as the man with nine lives explained, “I’m still the same old guy doing my same old shit.”

One word: legend.