A surfer and whale collided Sunday, resulting in the man being sent flying with one flick of the beast's tail, according to reports. Bishan Rajapaske, 38, was found face down and unconscious in the surf by friends who were also at Australia's Bondi Beach.
The surfer and whale's meeting was no coincidence. Rajapaske, who thought the creature was "mystical" and magnificent, he told ABC news, decided to get far closer than is recommended. Most lifeguards say the closest anyone should get to a whale is 30 meters, which is nearly 100 feet, but he was within 10 meters, or 30 feet.
"I was just mesmerized by this whale and talking to it like you'd talk to a nice dog or something," Rajapaske, a doctor told Sky News. "At that point I thought, 'Let's just take a chance and see how it goes."
Mark Greig, another surfer who was a little further from the whale and her calf, warned Rajapaske to get away from the beasts, but it was too late. The beast flipped its fin into the air, bringing it down on the doctor's head— he went flying into the air and was knocked out instantly.
"The whale has lifted his tail and it's come down and struck [Rajapaske] on the head and knocked him out," Anthony Carroll, a lifeguard at the beach, told The Australian. Another lifeguard, Adrian Kovacic, said they had warned beachgoers not approach the animal.
"The surfers were heaps close to it," he said. "We sent out lifeguard to make a big radius around the whale to get everyone away, and while he was doing that one guy got too close and got hit by the tail."
Other surfers dragged Rajapaske to shore, where he was put on a "precautionary board for back, neck and head injuries" an Ambulance NSW spokesman told The Guardian. He suffered a concussion and an injured shoulder, but was conscious by the time paramedics arrived.
The creature is thought to have been a Southern Right whale because it was about "the size of a bus," a witness told the ABC.
"It was 40 feet long— it was huge," Lachlan Harris explained. "It just flicked its tail and some surfers were in the wrong [place] and the next thing you know, a surfboard is flying in the air … it was unbelievable."