SYDNEY – A Sydney surfer had a lucky escape Sunday when he was hit and knocked unconscious by a whale frolicking off Bondi Beach.
Bishan Rajapakse, a 38-year-old doctor, said the last thing he remembers before waking up on the beach was saying “Hey, how’s it going?” to the whale, believed to be a southern right, as it swam near him and other surfers, the Sydney Morning Herald said.
“When I got to him I saw there was this dark, black shadow and it was just massive,” he told the paper.
“The whale was moving in like slow motion. It was beautiful and it breached and we could see the barnacles and it was slowly going up and down and turning and it actually made a noise. It was amazing.”
New South Wales Ambulance service said several whales were close to the iconic beach Sunday morning. Paramedics were called in to help when one of the large animals hit, or flicked with its tail, the male surfer, knocking him out.
“He was knocked unconscious very briefly,” a spokesman said, adding that the man was rescued by fellow surfers and was not seriously injured.
“He is lucky people were there (to help him), but we were also lucky that he’s the only one (needing help),” the spokesman said.
One witness told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that the whale was “the size of a bus” and had been frolicking with the group of surfers.