A 27-year-old Australian surfer hit a dolphin while riding a wave at Bawley Point on the south coast of New South Wales. The accident site is about 250 kilometres south of Sydney.
The mammal hit the male surfer on the pelvic area with such a force that the man's wetsuit was torn. But the man managed to swim his way out of the water, according to Wayne Dunlop, duty operations manager of NSW Ambulance.
Paramedics treated the victim of the dolphin slamming and airlifted him to a Sydney hospital.
Beach accidents involving marine animals sometimes happen in Australia's coastline. In July 2013, a surfer at Bondi Beach in Sydney was knocked unconscious by a whale when he got too close.
Ronny Ling, president of the marine research group ORCCA, said it is difficult to tell if the dolphin intentionally hit the male surfer or just miscalculated its move.
To protect swimmers and surfers from these types of accidents, the law requires humans to stay 50 metres away from dolphins and 100 metres from whales because of dolphin ramming incidents in the past in NSW which happens when people try to interact with the mammal, often portrayed in movies such as Free Willy and marine shows as very friendly creatures, but dolphins are actually unpredictable animals.
However, they could also be heroic by saving a surfer's life.