Man Swallowed by A 'Humpback Whale' Survives to Tell The Story!

Man Swallowed by A ‘Humpback Whale’ Survives to Tell The Story!

Imagine diving into the ocean on a regular day and ending up inside the mouth of a giant humpback whale! This is exactly what happened to Michael Packard, a veteran lobster diver from Massachusetts. In June 2021, Michael was swallowed by a humpback whale and he stayed inside for about 40 seconds. On his dive, about 10 feet from the bottom, Michael got slammed by the whale and everything went pitch black. Miraculously, he survived! Mchael’s survival story is undoubtedly rare and fascinating. Let’s have a closer look at the details.

The Day of the Incident

For Michael Packard, the day started like any other day. As an experienced lobster diver, he was conditioned to the routine of diving deep into the waters off the coast of Cape Cod. On this particular day, Michael had already completed two dives and was plunging for his third. Just as he was about 10 feet from the bottom, he felt a sudden, powerful force hit him like a freight train.

Everything went black. Michael initially had no idea what was happening. The water rushed around him as he moved at an incredible speed. He could feel pressure all over his body and realized he was inside the mouth of a whale. As he struggled to understand his situation, his breathing device fell out of his mouth. “I better grab that f***ing thing,” he thought and quickly put it back in his mouth. The fear and urgency of the moment were overwhelming, and Michael was certain he was going to die.

“I got in the water and I did two dives. And then (on the) third dive, I dove down and I was descending to the bottom. And I was just about to the bottom. I just got slammed. Just like a freight train … and then all of a sudden it went black.”

Cape Cod Times, Michael Packard
Image source: New York Post

The Struggle for Survival

Inside the whale’s mouth, Michael’s struggle for survival was intense. He desperately tried to retrieve his breathing device, thinking, “This is it, Michael. This is how you die.”

“I’m thinking to myself, ‘This is it, Michael. This is it. This is how you die,'” he continued. “And I was 100 percent sure that I wouldn’t get out of this situation. It was a done deal, and I thought about my kids and my wife.”

Michael Packard

Michael was not the only one freaking out, the whale was too. The humpback whale’s movements made it difficult for him to maintain his orientation and sense of time. Michael thought about his family, particularly his wife and children, fearing he would never see them again.

Man Swallowed by A 'Humpback Whale' Survives
Image source: Daily Mail / Cape Cod Times

Suddenly, Michael saw light. The whale began to shake its head and, in an unpredictable move, pushed Michael out of its mouth. He found himself floating on the surface of the water, in shock and disbelief. “Oh my god, I got out of that, I survived,” he thought. He felt a quick relief and astonishment.

“And then boom! I f***ing fly out of his mouth. And I’m like, ‘Oh my god.’ I was just laying on the surface floating and saw his tail and he went back down, and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I got out of that, I survived.”

Michael Packard

Aftermath and Recovery

Once back on the surface, Michael’s immediate thoughts were of thankfulness that his lungs hadn’t exploded. He was immediately taken to Cape Cod Hospital. He only had a dislocated knee and soft tissue damage. His sister, Cynthia Packard, and other family members were relieved but stunned by what happened. His mother remarked, “What a way to become a celebrity, huh?”

Despite the severe pain and injuries, Michael was determined to return to his beloved job of diving for lobsters as soon as possible. Reflecting on his experience, he recalled a previous near-death experience from a plane crash in Costa Rica over ten years ago. In both cases, he narrowly escaped death, earning the nickname “Milagro Mike” from locals in Costa Rica. Now, he humorously refers to himself as “Milagro Mike times two.”

Expert Insights and Rarity of Such Encounters

Experts like Charles “Stormy” Mayo and Dr. Jooke Robbins from the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown highlight how rare such encounters are. Humpback whales feed by thrusting through the water with their mouths wide open. This helps them engulf schools of fish. Sometimes, they cannot detect or avoid obstacles in their path, leading to accidental encounters with humans or fishing gear.

“If something lies directly in the path of a lunge-feeding humpback whale, the whale might not always be able to detect it or avoid it in time. For example, some entanglements in fishing gear begin this way and can threaten the life of the whale.”

Charles “Stormy” Mayo and Dr. Jooke Robbins

Dr. Robbins stresses that such incidents are reminders for people to keep a safe distance from whales in their natural habitat. Divers and fishermen are to stay vigilant and take preventive measures to avoid similar incidents.


Michael Packard’s story is a remarkable tale of survival and resilience. It showcases the unpredictable nature of our world and the strength of the human spirit in life-threatening situations. Stories like these captivate our imagination and remind us of the wonders and dangers that exist in our natural environment. Have you ever encountered something extraordinary in nature? Share your thoughts and experiences with us!

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