Feb 2010 25

Dawn Brancheau, a whale trainer at SeaWorld, was pulled into the tank yesterday after a show and tragically killed. Dawn’s sister Diane Gross said that her family considers the incident to be an accident, rather than an oversight on SeaWorld’s part.

“She loved all of them,” said Diane. “They all had personalities, good days and bad days.” Diane said that Dawn was inspired to become a trainer after taking a family trip as a 9-year-old.

Reports say that the whale has been considered dangerous by staff, and only certain trainers were able to work with him. This leads to the question – why was he there? The 12,000 pound whale pulled Dawn under the water after a regular performance, as she was rewarding him. Onlookers that witnessed the horrible event said that the whale was acting violently with the trainer.

This isn’t the first death that has been connected with the killer whale. Tilikum and two other whales drowned another trainer, Keltie Byrne, in 1991 at a park in Canada. In 1999 at SeaWorld, a man snuck into the whale tank to swim with them. He was also killed.

Video of Witness, Victoria Biniak, saying the whale “Shook Her Violently” 

Here is the story on CBS News:

Here is a statement from the President of SeaWorld Orlando, Dan Brown:


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