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Man reveals what it was like to survive being swallowed by a humpback whale

A man who was swallowed by a humpback whale has revealed his story in what has been described as “the most extraordinary story”.

A man who was swallowed by a humpback whale while out diving has revealed his story in what has been described as “just maybe, the most extraordinary story”.

Speaking to Karl Stefanovic for 60 Minutes on Sunday night, fisherman Michael Packard revealed he was swallowed four weeks ago when he was out diving for lobsters off the coast of Cape Cod, in the US state of Massachusetts, claiming the humpback whale appeared from nowhere.

“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,” Mr Packard said.

“It took me about five seconds to realise I was in that whale’s mouth. And I went, holy shit.”

“I tried and I tried and then I guess I was like, ‘there’s no way I’m going to get outta here unless he lets me get out’.

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 Mr Packer’s crewmate, Josiah Mayo.

Last month, the pair set off without realising their encounter was just moments away.

“I’m moving through the water. And I’m like, what the, what? Where am I? what happened? Did I get eaten by a shark? No, I can’t feel any cuts. I don’t think it’s a shark. And then instantly I knew it was a whale.”

“I’m travelling 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.

“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”, Mr 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.

“I was convinced I was dead and all I could think about was my boys. I have a lovely wife and a mother that has gone through hell.

“I was convinced, okay, this is how you’re going to go, Michael, this sucks. It sucks. Huh.”

It was then he realised he was at the mercy of the whale.

“I tried and I tried and I’m like, ‘I’m not going to get out unless he let’s me out. It’s too massive a creature. It’s not like I’m going to pry myself out and push up on his jaws, swim out’.

“He was going to do what he wanted with me or what, you know, I just realised it. I was, I was in his grips.”

Then, all of a sudden: “I felt him going up and I saw light and then he started getting really erratic and really like shaking and getting aggressive.

“He’s trying to get rid of me. And I’m like, I had just a tiny bit of hope. And then he’s thrashing going back and forth, then all of a sudden light.

“And I’m like through a little bit through the air, kind of thrown to the side.”

Mr Mayo, on the surface while the commotion was underway in the water, described the scene from above:

“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.”

He was free.

“I just was laying on the surface of the water looking up and I was like, ‘oh my God, I got out of it. I got out of it. I’m alive. No matter how injured I am, I’m not gonna die. I’m here. I could have broken legs. I could have a broken back, but I’m not dead. And I’m not going to die in a whale’s mouth’.”

His only injury was ligament damage to his leg.

When pressed on accusations by those that say his story sounds too good to be true, he said it was”starting to bother me”.

“I kind of talked to friends of mine and friends were reaching out to me and just telling me, ‘don’t worry about them, Michael. We know you, we’ve known you your whole life. Michael Packard is the last person to make up something like this’.

“The reinforcement that I got from the community really just made me not worry about what anybody else to say.

“Come and meet me, shake my hand. If it worries you that much. Diving is my life. Fishing was my life. I mean, I, you know, I haven’t, I haven’t fished in two weeks now and I’m going out of my mind, I’m pretty good besides my knee.

“I’m getting a leg brace, custom leg brace made tomorrow. And I, I plan on getting in the water next week.”

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