A Cape Cod lobster diver is safe after a harrowing experience with a humpback whale. CNN reports that Michael Packard was diving off the coast of Provincetown when suddenly everything changed.

“I got down to about 45 feet of water, and all of a sudden I just felt this huge bump, and everything went dark,” Packard told CNN affiliate WBZ. “And I could sense that I was moving, and I was like, ‘”Oh, my God, did I just get bit by a shark?'”

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“Then I felt around, and I realized there was no teeth and I had felt, really, no great pain,” Packard said. “And then I realized, ‘Oh, my God, I’m in a whale’s mouth. I’m in a whale’s mouth, and he’s trying to swallow me.'”

Packard is an experienced diver and still had his breathing apparatus on while inside the whale. So what was the experience like inside the whale?

“One of the things that went through my mind was just, ‘Oh, my God, what if he does swallow me, and here I am, I’m breathing air, and I’m going to breathe in this whale’s mouth until my air runs out?'” he said. “I thought to myself, ‘OK, this is it. I’m going to die.’ And I thought about my kids and my wife. There was no getting out of there.”

He estimates that he spent about 30 seconds inside the whale’s mouth. How did he get out?

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“All of a sudden he went up to the surface and just erupted and started shaking his head,” Packard said. “I just got thrown in the air, and landed in the water and I was free and I just floated there. I couldn’t believe it,” he added. “I couldn’t believe I got out of that. And I’m here to tell it.”

Apart from some bumps and bruises, Packard is feeling ok.

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Biologist Jooke Robbins, the director of Humpback Whale Studies at Provincetown’s Center for Coastal Studies, told CNN that the encounter was probably an accident. “We don’t really see humpback whales doing anything like this normally. I think it was a surprise to all involved.”

Read more about whales in One Green Planet, including the two beluga whales brought to a sanctuarymilitary sonar exercise linked to beached whaleshypersonic weapons testing affecting killer whalesover 100 beached whales saved by rescuers; whales, dolphins, and porpoises face unprecedented risk of extinction;  and humpback whale trapped in fishing gear.

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