Killer Whale Attack in SeaWorld – Orlando
www.examiner.com/ — Update, 5:45 p.m. PST: A San Francisco expert who once produced a documentary based in part on the whale involved in Wednesday’s deadly attack says that the whale was traded to the Orlando park to be used for mating. He cited the fatal attack in Canada and said the whale never should have been around people. Click here for that story.
Update, 4:30 p.m. PST: The trainer is being identified as Dawn Brancheau, 40. WESH-TV interviewed her ten years ago for a story it was doing about the show. That video is below.
An horrific attack killed a woman trainer in SeaWorld today. According to a witness (see first video below), the whale grabbed the woman by the waist and shook her before taking her into the water.
The whale named Tillikum, nicknamed “Tilly,” has killed twice before, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
The whale drowned one of his trainers in 1991 while performing at Sealand of the Pacific in British Columbia, Canada.
SeaWorld bought the animal in 1992. In 1999, a man drowned after jumping into the whale tank after the park was closed. Authorities believe the whale likely toyed with the man, thinking he was a play object. The whale apparently ripped the swim trunks off the man’s body.
SeaWorld’s President, Dan Brown expressed sympathy for the victim’s family during a press conference this afternoon and he said that the park had never had an accident similar to that in its past. Brown promised a review of the park’s standard operating procedures. Brown said she was one of the park’s most experienced trainers. A sheriff’s spokesman, Jim Solomon, said she was 40 years old. (See second and third videos below.)
The only killer whale show in the Bay Area is in Vallejo at the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, formerly Marine World. The whale, Shouka, is a 16-year-old female. The animal is 16-feet long and weighs more about 4,000 pounds. She is a long way from home. She was born in the Mediterranean, in the South of France. Shouka has had no violent history with trainers.