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At around 5.40am on Monday morning, police allege another man followed the victim into a stall at a Burleigh Heads bathroom before stabbing him in the head from behind.
A council cleaner is believed to have entered the facility, attempting to pull the man from the 43-year-old before seeing the knife.
After the altercation, the accused fled the scene.
The 31-year-old, was intercepted by police at 23rd Avenue on Palm Beach and arrested.
He has been charged with attempted murder.
“It is alleged the 31-year-old stabbed and slashed the 43-year-old man with a knife, before he was confronted by passers-by and ran from the scene,” a police statement read.
“The men are not known to each other.”
The victim was transported to Gold Coast University Hospital in a serious condition with non-life threatening stab wounds.
Witnesses nearby described hearing a “blood curdling scream” from the bathroom as the assault unfolded.
They said the man had been carrying a surf board and had likely been surfing at the popular beach spot.
Police are continuing to investigate the incident.