A man has escaped the jaws of death after being swallowed whole by a humpback whale and being miraculously spat back out.
Professional lobster diver Michael Packard was around 45 feet below the surface in the waters off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, when the freak incident occurred.
The 56-year-old father’s first thought was that he had been attacked by a shark.
He told WBZ-TV: ‘All of a sudden I felt this huge bump, and everything went dark.’
But the diver of 40 years quickly realised he could not feel any teeth or pain.
He added: ‘Then I realised, oh my God, I’m in a whale’s mouth…. And he’s trying to swallow me.
‘And I thought to myself okay, this is it – I’m finally – I’m gonna die.’
He said he thought about his wife and children as he swirled in the whale’s mouth for around 30 seconds.
The mammal then surfaced, shook its head and spat him out, to the amazement of his colleague Josiah Mayo, who was waiting in a nearby surface boat.
‘I just got thrown in the air and landed in the water,’ he recalled.
‘I was free and I just floated there. I couldn’t believe it… I’m here to tell it.’
Mr Packard was pulled from the water by his crewmate and taken to a local hospital in Provincetown on Friday morning.
He was released the next day only having suffered from bruising.
‘I am very bruised but have no broken bones,’ Mr Packard wrote in a Facebook post, ‘I want to thank the Provincetown rescue team for their caring and help.’
Peter Corkeron, a senior scientist at the New England Aquarium estimated there is a one in a trillion chance of someone being eaten by a whale