Everything portended a normal and peaceful day. It was 8am on Friday morning when fisherman Michael Packard was returning to the water on board his ‘Ja’n J’ boat not far off the coast of Cape Cod.
Suddenly, however, a dull sound, a strong push and then darkness: Packard had been swallowed by a whale.
For 30-40 endless seconds he feared the worst. He first thought he was eaten by a white shark, but he found himself whole. It took him some time to realize he was swallowed by a blue whale: “It all happened so quickly. My only thought was how to get out of his mouth.”
The cough saved him
Helped to breathe from the oxygen tank with which he jumped into the water, Packard began to think of a way out knowing that the huge mammal could “do whatever he wanted with him. He could swallow me or spit me out.” What saved him was a cough: the whale first emerged to the surface, then started shaking its head and within seconds Packard was in the water, alive and well.
“I could not believe it”, he said smiling as he told his incredible story from the hospital where he was admitted for checks, but discharged shortly after. “I could feel that I was moving inside the whale and most of all I could feel the muscles of its mouth,” he said.
Come in “Whale of a Tale”
His adventure brings back memories Whale of a Tale, the Kirk Douglas song in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but even more so the biblical Jonah or the novels of Moby Dick e Pinocchio. As in Herman Melville’s book, the incredible story is set in Massachusetts, one of the best known whale watching spots in the world. And as in Pinocchio Packard is swallowed entirely. Unlike Geppetto, who remained in the mammal for two years after being swallowed “like a tortellino from Bologna”, Packard lived only seconds of terror, during which fear gave way only to the thought of his two 15-year-olds. and 12 years.
The experts of the area have branded as an “accident” the adventure-misfortune of the 56-year-old fisherman because blue whales are not aggressive animals, and they are especially not aggressive towards humans. This does not mean that it was a nightmare for Packard.