Police Identify Veteran Trainer Killed In SeaWorld Whale Attack

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Police Identify Veteran Trainer Killed In SeaWorld Whale Attack

Post by FystyAngel on Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:38 am

Police Identify Veteran Trainer Killed In SeaWorld Whale Attack
ORLANDO, FLA. -- Police identified the veteran animal trainer that was killed Wednesday afternoon during an accident at SeaWorlds Shamu Stadium.

Dawn Brancheau, a 40-year-old trainer working at the theme park since 1994, was killed after drowning during a Dine with Shamu show earlier Wednesday afternoon as guests looked on from above and in an underwater viewing area.

SeaWorld President Dan Brown said the park lost a member of its family and described the incident as unprecedented in the history of our park.

"It is with great sadness that I report that one of our most experienced animal trainers drowned in an incident with one of our killer whales this afternoon," Brown said in a brief statement to reporters. "We've initiated an investigation to determine, to the extent possible, what occurred."

Park executives confirmed Brancheau was killed after being pulled into the water by a 12,000-pound male killer whale named Tilikum.

SeaWorld officials said they were in the process of investigating the incident.

Sheriff's Office spokesman John Solomons said at a press conference that it appeared to be an "accidental and tragic" death but that police were still going to conduct their own investigation.

According to witnesses, the trainer was grabbed by the whale and thrashed around as the whale swam from one side of the tank to the other. Other witnesses said they saw Brancheau bleeding from her face.

Guests at the park reported that the whales seemed agitated before the incident occurred.

Orange County Fire Rescue officials arrived five minutes after receiving a 911 call at around 2 p.m. Wednesday about an unknown medical condition. According to officials, Brancheau was dead when they arrived.

The audience was evacuated from the stadium after sirens went off and the show, held twice a day at 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., was cancelled.

Tillikum, has been involved in at least one other deadly incident before. In 1991, "Tilly" was blamed for drowning one of his trainers at the Sealand of the Pacific in British Columbia before being sold to SeaWorld in 1992.

He was also involved in the incident in 1999 where a dead homeless man was found in the whale tank after sneaking in after the park closed.

This is not the first incident involving whales at SeaWorld Orlando. In 2005, a trainer was injured after another whale, who "got excited" bumped the trainer during a performance. In 2006, a killer whale at SeaWorld San Antionio attacked, but did not seriously injure a trainer.

The later afternoon shows at Shamu Stadium were cancelled and SeaWorld San Diego park officials also cancelled their Shamu show Wednesday afternoon.


http://bbn.frn.com/fis/storydisplay.asp?site=wsky&storyID=11376

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Re: Police Identify Veteran Trainer Killed In SeaWorld Whale Attack

Post by Piper on Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:26 am

What a horrific story. I understand Tilly will stay in the program. On Anderson Cooper last night they were saying that it was her hair that attracted Tilly. Jack Hannah said she was a dear friend of his and that Dawn was letting her hair grow to eventually cut off for a foundation. I assume for Locks of Love, or something similar that creates wigs for children afflicted with cancer.
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Re: Police Identify Veteran Trainer Killed In SeaWorld Whale Attack

Post by Guest on Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:04 pm

This is such a tragic story.. Dawn became of victim of a "victimized" animal.

The fact that Tilly is a victimized animal doesnt make it less painful to see such a great life taken.

The fact that she was growing her hair for such a great cause speaks volumes about her character and contribution to society...

She clearly grew up believing that training captivated animals was OK and a great profession. It is sad that society has taught this.. And they have....

I dont believe her intentions were bad like any trainors, but we the people have to look at this closer...

Tilly was "abducted" from his family pod when he was only 2 or 3. He was robbed of the life he was meant to live. We did this.

These animals dont belong amongst us. They deserve to live the life that they are meant too just like we are. Studies can be done in the wild ..We have seen studies of untamed animals over the years that have been very effective and informative.

The thought of paying to see an animal live in such a horrendous environment is sickening.

We have been raised to think this is entertaining. We teach this to our kids.. We need to realize that we have been misinformed and have learned to find pleasure in seeing these animals in captivity. If we look at the big picture we should be able to realize that it is wrong. If society takes a different stand, we will teach our kids that this is torture. If there is no demand for this type of cruel sideshow, there will be no demand and these places can start to figure out what they should do with these anmals to give them bak some form of life.. They desrve it...

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