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Bondi whale KO highlights dangers: expert
2013/07/08 16:01

The former New Zealand doctor knocked out by a whale while surfing off Sydney's Bondi Beach is a reminder that although the mammals are often regarded as gentle giants they can be dangerous, an expert sayswomen t shirts for sale .

The southern right whale was frolicking in the water among surfers about 70 metres offshore on Sunday morning when it hit Bishan Rajapakse, 38, with its tail.

Dr Rajapakse was lucky to come away with just a bump to the head, says Ronny Ling, president of the whale rescue and research organisation ORRCA.

Southern right whales are just beginning their calving season, making this one of the most hazardous times of year.

"You're looking at 50 to 70 tonnes of animal. That's huge," Mr Ling said.

"And if they consider you a threat they'll charge, especially if they've got a calf with themtourism news."

He said beachgoers should give whales a wide berth and resist the temptation to get within striking range.

"It's like people who want to stick their finger in the cocky's beak, or reach in the cage and scratch the tiger's belly," he said.

"You really don't want to get too close."

Dr Rajapakse was knocked off his surf board and lost consciousness for about 10 seconds, but by afternoon he was happily chatting with reporters from his hospital bed.

It's common for southern right whales to come as close as 40 or 50 metres from the shore, Mr Ling said.

Under NSW law, swimmers may not come within 30 metres of a cetacean, and people on vessels - which includes surf boards, boogie boards and kayaks - may not get closer than 100 metres.
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