SeaWorld trainer dies after being dragged under by killer whale
February 24, 2010
(ChattahBox) – An unfortunate tragedy has occurred at Seaworld’s Shamu Stadium, in Orlando as a female trainer died in the killer whale tank. The veteran trainer had just finished telling the audience about the show they were about to witness when the whale struck. The identity of the victim has not been released. A park guest said the whale came up out from the water, grabbed the trainer around the waist and “thrashed her all around,” to the point the trainer’s shoe fell off. The whale “Tillikum,” nicknamed “Tilly,” a 30-year-old, 12,300-pound male orca, does not typically have a trainer in its tank because it is too large. Updates to follow.
Update: Dawn Brancheau, 40, has been identified as the trainer who was killed. A spectator from Michigan told the Associated Press that Brancheau was on a platform massaging Tillikum, the killer whale. The interaction appeared leisurely.
Then the orca “pulled her under and started swimming around with her.”