Visser survives ’30 seconds in humpback whale’s mouth’

This Friday morning, Packard dived into the sea. He was fishing for lobster. While he was about to inspect a trap, tens of meters deep on the bottom, a whale swam by. He snapped.

“Suddenly I felt a huge wave. After that it was all black. I felt myself move and I felt the muscles of his mouth contract.” At first he thought he was still in a white shark. But he felt no teeth and was not injured. After a few seconds, it dawned on him that he had been swallowed.

“I was totally into it. It was completely black,” Packard told the Cape Cod Times, a news outlet from his hometown. “I thought: I will never get out of here. I have been there. I could only think about my little boys, who are 12 and 15 years old.”


Miraculously, Packard is able to retell his story. His parents are also aware. “It was in the mouth for thirty to forty seconds,” the 56-year-old fisherman’s mother, the area well-known painter Anne Packard, told the Miami Herald newspaper.

A humpback whale on archive image.

A humpback whale on archive image.

After a visit to the hospital, TV reporters approached him. Packard talked about his agony. “I realized I was in a whale’s mouth,” he said. “And that he tried to swallow me.”

But mysteriously, he was spat out again without serious injury—cleanly at the surface of the water. “He didn’t even break a bone,” says his mother. “He was incredibly lucky.”

‘Maybe rescue attempt’

According to marine expert Peter Corkeron of the New England Aquarium, humpback whales don’t prey on humans. They filter large amounts of water for possible food with their baleen. Packard was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time during his dive.

Humpback whales are sometimes described as ‘altruistic’ towards humans. So they are anything but evil. Corkeron does not rule out the possibility that the whale deliberately brought fisherman Packard to the surface to spit him out, writes The Herald.

“It’s pretty good to imagine he was trying to help him,” Packard said.

Airplane crash

It is not Packard’s first Houdini act, however, says his mother. Years ago, he once experienced a plane crash in Costa Rica while fishing. He climbed out of the wreck on his own. “I think he is blessed,” says Anne Packard. “It is unbelievable.”

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