Surfing doctor lands in hospital after whale encounter in Australia

A bus-sized whale reportedly swam inexplicably close to a well-populated Australian shoreline Saturday, amazing spellbound swimmers and even bopping one stricken surfer on the head with its mammoth tail.

"Guys just went everywhere," Lachlan Harris, a businessman who witnessed the unlikely event, off Bondi Beach, located just miles from the capitol city of Sydney, told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"It was as big as a bus, easily 40 foot long and it just sent the surfers flying like skittles [bowling pins] ... It was just amazing. I mean there were people swimming laps of the beach and the whale was even inside them. It was that close to the beach.”


Witnesses reportedly estimate that the whale, which was later squired to safety by marine authorities, came within about 300 feet from the shore, which is a favorite of surfers and daredevil swimmers for its exceedingly large waves.

The whale even bopped Bishan Rajapakse, a 38-year-old area doctor, on the head with its powerful tail, according to the Herald. Rajapakse briefly lost consciousness after the incident and required a hospital trip because of injuries.

“When I got to him I saw there was this dark, black shadow and it was just massive,” Rajapakse told the Herald from his hospital bed.

“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."

The doctor added that the last thing he recalled was saying, “Hey, how's it going?” to the whale when it was about 3 feet from him.

Paul Martin, a local lifeguard, told the Herald the whale "came in 75-100 metres off the rocks,” adding,"The whale ran into a group of surfers and decided it was going to play football with one of them."

Rajapakse sustained only minor injuries and is expected to be released from the hospital shortly, he told the Herald.

Click for the story from the Sydney Morning Herald.