Killer whale startles surfers in Indonesia

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Killer whale appears in the lineup at Indonesian surf spot; photos via Bali Sharks

Surfers in the lineup at Uluwatu, a popular break in Indonesia, were waiting for waves recently when all of a sudden a towering black fin broke the surface.

Hayanna Iguchi Murakawa told Indo Surf Life that her initial reaction was shark, but before she had time to panic, she heard others yelling, "Killer whale!"

"I was sitting in the lineup when I heard people cheering and screaming," Murakawa said. "I looked to the side and saw a huge black fin rise up from the water."

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Though the scene was somewhat ominous, the surfers cheered the arrival of such an iconic predator in their midst.

But to be on the safe side, after the fin sank below the surface, the surfers paddled ashore.

Murakawa, 14, said the killer whale had been speared twice by locals, who tried hunting the orca.

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But Paul Friese, of the conservation group Bali Sharks, told Huffington Post that the orca appeared to be healthy, and probably was in the area because of an abundance of squid, which also attracted squid fishermen.

Killer whales have never been known to attack humans in the wild, but it's rare for them to appear so close to surfers or swimmers. So the concern among Murakawa and friends was understandable.

Friese described the encounter as a "rare blessing for the surfer that experienced it."

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