This is the story of Michael Packard, a 56-year-old lobster diver, the man who alleges that he was swallowed by a humpback whale during one of his dives.
Packard’s narrative describes being trapped in the whale’s mouth for about 30 to 40 seconds before being expelled back into the sea. However, his story is doubted by both marinebiologists and doctors – let’s take a closer look at what actually happened.
Just How Big Is a Humpback Whale?
Humpback whales are known for their complex courtship songs and are significant in size. On average, they measure about 39 to 52 feet in length and weigh around 40 tons.
Being huge whales, they also have huge mouths, reaching up to approximately 10 feet wide, capable of opening wide to engulf large volumes of water. At any one time, they can keep as much as 5,000 gallons of water in their mouth!
Is the Humpback Whale the Largest Animal on Earth?
As previously stated, Humpback whales reach 60 feet in length and 40 tons in weight. Blue whales, in contrast, can reach over 100 feet in length and weigh as much as 200 tons, dwarfing the humpback whales.
Man Nearly Swallowed By Whale: What Happened
Packard’s ordeal started while he was diving for lobsters near Provincetown. He reported being suddenly enclosed by the whale, feeling immense pressure and contortion. According to him, he sensed the whale’s jaws clamping down on his legs for several seconds before being released.
Despite the absurdity of this story, Packard passionately pertains that he was indeed swallowed. As proof, he points to the photographic evidence of him hanging out of the whale’s mouth.
The Aftermath: Escape and Injuries
Miraculously, though, he managed to escape with relatively minor injuries. The whale, likely realizing that it had engulfed something too large to swallow, rose to the surface and spat him out. Packard described being in the closed mouth of the whale for about 30 to 40 seconds, enduring significant pressure and disorientation before his unexpected release.
Remarkably, Packard survived this ordeal with no life-threatening injuries. Somehow he managed to escape without even breaking any bones and only suffered severe bruises. His light injuries are however also what is making people doubt him.
Why Doctors Are Doubting His Story
Medical experts have questioned Packard’s tale. A doctor who examined him post-incident suggested that the injuries should have been more severe for someone allegedly engulfed by a whale. This doubt is shared by others, particularly those familiar with marine life, who consider the story implausible.
Their Physiology Makes It Literally Impossible
The physical structure of a humpback whale makes it literally impossible for them to swallow a human. Although their mouths are sizable, their throats are only about the size of a human fist. They can expand to a maximum diameter of 15 inches.
Man Swallowed By Whale: Conclusion
While the claim of Michael Packard being swallowed by a humpback whale raises eyebrows, the anatomical limitations of the whale suggest that being literally swallowed was unlikely (or in fact – impossible.)
So even if Packard was “just” momentarily held within the whale’s vast mouth, it’s a traumatic and extraordinary story.
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