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Whale swallows lobster diver, rejects him as meal

A humpback whale breaches the Sacramento River near Rio Vista, Calif. on May 27, 2007. A lobster diver was swallowed and spat out by a humpback whale Friday off Cape Cod, Mass. File Photo by Aaron Kehoe/UPI
A humpback whale breaches the Sacramento River near Rio Vista, Calif. on May 27, 2007. A lobster diver was swallowed and spat out by a humpback whale Friday off Cape Cod, Mass. File Photo by Aaron Kehoe/UPI | License Photo

June 12 (UPI) -- A Massachusetts lobster diver survived being swallowed up and then spat out by a humpback whale off the coast of Cape Cod, giving him about 40 surreal seconds in the mouth of the large marine animal.

In his own Biblical Jonah and the whale story, Michael Packard said it happened in a flash as he swam in about 45 feet of water one moment before everything turned dark in an instant Friday. Packard said he initially thought he was attacked by a shark but realized he didn't feel like he was bitten and wasn't in any pain.

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That's when he realized he was actually inside the mouth of a whale and fought to locate his breathing regulator fearing he could run out of air and suffocate. But the whale had other plans moments later.

"A humpback whale tried to eat me," Packard told WBTS. "I was in his closed mouth for about 30 to 40 seconds before he rose to the surface and spit me out. I am very bruised up but have no broken bones."

Packard said for those frantic moments, all he could think about was his two young boys and possibly dying inside the whale before the mammal rejected him as a meal.

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"I could sense I was moving," he told the Cape Code Times. "I could feel the whale squeezing with the muscles in his mouth."

Doctors released Packard from Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, battered, but no broken bones and one heck of a fish story to tell.

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