Lobster fisherman Michael Packard tells his 'whale of a story'
A lobster fisherman in the US who was almost swallowed up by a humpback whale has lived to tell the story.
The diver, Michael Packàrd, said he has never experienced anything like it in his 40 years as a lobster fisherman.
The 56-year-old escaped with severe bruising to his legs after being accidentally engulfed by the feeding humpback off Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Mr Packàrd was 45 feet (almost 14 metres) below the ocean’s surface when he suddenly "felt this huge bump and everything went dark".
Describing the moment he was trapped in the mouth of the whale, he said: "I was diving today and I jumped over and I got down to about 45 feet of water and all of a sudden I felt this huge bump and everything went dark.
"And then I realised, oh my God, I'm in a whale's mouth... I'm in a whale's mouth and he's trying to swallow me."
The fisherman also describes how he thought he was coming to the end of his life during this moment.
Mr Packàrd added: "And I thought to myself, okay this is it. This is, I'm finally... I'm going to die."
He said the whale emerged from the water and spat him out, leaving him with bruises.
"He went up to the surface and just erupted, and started shaking his head and I just got thrown in the air and landed in the water and I was free," Mr Packàrd said.
Peter Corkeron, a senior scientist at the New England Aquarium, said that when humpback whales feed they often do gulp feeding.
This means they open their mouths so wide as they feed - and it's very likely Mr Packard was scooped up without even realising it.
He added that whales don't usually attack humans but warned people to keep a good distance in the sea.