'I'm gonna die' - Diver cheats death after being swallowed by a whale

A commercial lobster diver who got caught in the mouth of a humpback whale off the coast of Cape Cod on Friday morning said he thought he was going to die.

Michael Packard, 56, told local media after he was released from Cape Cod Hospital that he was about 14 metre deep in the waters off Provincetown when “all of a sudden I felt this huge bump, and everything went dark."

He thought he had been attacked by a shark, common in area waters, but then realised he could not feel any teeth and he wasn't in any pain.

“Then I realised, oh my God, I'm in a whale's mouth ... and he's trying to swallow me," he said.

“And I thought to myself okay, this is it — I'm finally — I'm gonna die." 

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Michael Packard thought he had been attacked by a shark. Source: 1 NEWS

He estimates he was in the whale's mouth for about 30 seconds but continued to breathe because he still had his breathing apparatus in.

Then the whale surfaced, shook its head, and spit him out. He was rescued by his crewmate in the surface boat.

Charles “Stormy” Mayo, a senior scientist and whale expert at the Center for Coastal Studies said such human-whale encounters are rare.

Humpbacks are not aggressive and Mayo thinks it was an accidental encounter while the whale was feeding on fish, likely sand lance.