Chicago, IL – An Arkansas man is alive after being swallowed by a whale on Saturday while visiting the Shedd Aquarium. Jonah Anderson, 24, is being treated for mild dehydration at Chicago’s Mercy Medical Center after being regurgitated early this morning.
The incident happened while viewing the Beluga Whale exhibit at Shedd. Witnesses say the whale, Puiji, came out of the pool, grabbed Anderson, and proceeded to swallow him whole. Anderson remained unharmed inside the whale until this morning when he was spit back onto the viewing platform.
“This is the first time any of our whales have exhibited aggressive behavior,” Shedd’s vice president of communications Andrea Smalec tells us. “We frequently allow special guest to interact with the whales, our staff even occasionally swim with the whales. This is completely unexpected.”
Animal trainers tried unsuccessfully to extract Anderson from the whale during the three days. Anderson was able to communicate with outsiders through text message during the stay. Friends and family tell us that Anderson remained positive and relaxed during the time.
“He seemed really upbeat,” Jonah’s girlfriend Mary, who was with him on the trip, tells us. “Of course this is not the first time something like this has happened. We were on a boat tour outside San Francisco last year when a whale snatched him from the side. That one scared him a bit, this time it all seemed routine. Not sure why this keeps happening.”
Doctors expect to release Anderson from the hospital later today. He hopes to return to Arkansas to visit his cousin Daniel who is in critical condition following a fall into the lion exhibit at the Little Rock Zoo.