By The Nation
Jirayu Wanphusit was shore-fishing when he noticed a tug on his line, only for the rod to fly into the water, with him in hasty pursuit.
He stopped dead, though, when he saw a huge creature floating in the waves, thinking it must be a shark. Once he realised it was a more like whale, he called the authorities.
Thai residents and foreign tourists looked on as police and Marine Department officials cordoned off the area to prevent anyone unqualified from going near the clearly ailing animal.
Veterinarians from the Sea Turtle Conservation Centre in Sattahip attempted to apply first aid to the 3.4-metre beast, which had been injured in several places.
One of the vets, Kornkamol Kitikamara, said it showed signs of stress, seizure and arrhythmia. The team continued checking its condition hourly while monitoring environmental factors that could have disturbed it, such as light and sound.
Just after midnight, aided by Sattahip Naval Force personnel, the team managed with a struggle to hoist the heavyweight mammal onto a truck that could park no nearer than 100 metres away.
The animal was taken to the conservation centre, where it will be nursed back to health.