In a modern-day version of the biblical tale of Jonah, lobster diver Michael Packard was diving off the coast of Provincetown, Massachusetts, when a humpback whale nearly swallowed him.
Packard was diving at around 45ft/~13.5 meters when he was jolted by a bump and then engulfed in darkness.
Initially, Packard thought he was a victim of a great white shark attack, which are common in the area. Realizing he was not injured and lacked any bite marks, it dawned on him that he was in a whale’s mouth.
Commenting on his experienced, Packard stated:
“All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove, and the next thing I knew it was completely black. I realized – oh my God, I’m in a whale’s mouth and he’s trying to swallow me.”
Fortunately for Packard, the whale found him distasteful and spat him out:
“All of a sudden he went up to the surface. He just erupted and started shaking his head, and I just got thrown in the air and landed in the water and I was free.”
But just because Packard wound up in the whale’s mouth doesn’t mean the behemoth mammal could have swallowed him. In fact, the humpback whale’s throat isn’t much bigger than a human fist, and can only expand to about 15 inches/38cm, according to National Geographic.