Experienced Sea World trainer drowned by killer whale; spectators shocked

Legal News for Florida Personal Injury Attorneys. A seasoned animal trainer at Sea World was killed in an unfortunate killer whale attack.

Florida personal injury lawyer alerts- Animal trainer was drowned in killer whale attack at Sea World Orlando.

Orlando, FL (News)—A Sea World trainer tragically downed after being pulled under the water by a killer whale during a show on Wednesday, February 24, 2010. The fatal incident occurred in the Shamu Stadium of the marine mammal park, reports ABC News.

According to information provided by Chuck Tompkins, the curator of zoological operations at Sea World Orlando, the experienced animal trainer, identified as Dawn Brancheau, was in a tank in with one of the captive orcas, Tilikum, when the incident occurred. Bystanders, who were initially watching the show in amazement, were evacuated from Shamu Stadium almost immediately after the 12,000 pound whale allegedly grabbed her ponytail, dragging her under the water where she was sadly deprived of air for too long. Authorities from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office allegedly reported that Brancheau was pronounced dead at the scene. Vice president and general manager of Sea World Orlando, Dan Brown, regarded Brancheau, who spend 16 years training killer whales, as one of the “most experienced trainers” at the park.

Sea World officials reportedly stated the trainer’s ponytail likely caused the incident. Tilikum has apparently been involved in two situations prior to this one, which resulted in two fatalities. The first incident occurred in 1991, in which an orca trainer, Keltie Lee Byrne, fell into a tank occupied by three whales, one of them being Tilikum, in Sealand of the Pacific, located in Victoria, Canada. Byrne drowned after the whales somehow managed to prevent the trainer from being able to escape from the tank. In another incident, a 27-year-old man, identified as Daniel Dukes, hid from security and remained at the park until after it was closed. He managed to get into Tilikum’s tank, though it was unknown whether he did so willfully or not. An autopsy revealed that the man died of hypothermia and a lawsuit was subsequently filed against Sea World by his parents, though it was later dropped. The orca will apparently remain in the show.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Florida Personal Injury Lawyers.