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  1. #1

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    Killer Whale Trainer killed at Sea World Orlando

    Very sad news coming out of Orlando today. This happened during an actual show and not during rehearsal or anything.

    SeaWorld Orlando: 1 dead at SeaWorld Orlando Shamu attraction - OrlandoSentinel.com

    A SeaWorld employee died this afternoon during an incident at SeaWorld's Shamu Stadium, an Orange County Sheriff's Office official confirmed.

    SeaWorld, rescue personnel and the Sheriff's Office are not revealing the identity of the victim, although a local TV station is reporting that a female employee was killed after she was grabbed by one of the theme park's whales at the start of a public show.

    Park guest Victoria Biniak told Local 6 that the trainer was a veteran of SeaWorld and had just finished explaining to the audience the show they were about to see.

    At that point, Biniak said, the whale came up from the water and grabbed the woman.

    "He was thrashing her around pretty good. It was violent,'" Biniak told Local 6.

    The whale "took off really fast in the tank, and then he came back, shot up in the air, grabbed the trainer by the waist and started thrashing around, and one of her shoes flew off."

    She said sirens went off and everyone was forced to leave the stadium.
    Guests were evacuated from the area, and the whale show was cancelled. The park is not shut down.
    Statement from Jim Atchison, President and CEO, Seaworld Parks and Entertainment

    A Message from Jim Atchison, President and Chief Executive Officer, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment | SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

    February 24, 2010

    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, February 24, 2010 at our SeaWorld Orlando park.

    We have initiated an investigation to determine, to the extent possible, what occurred. There are no other details to share at this point, but we will make our findings known in due course.

    I must emphasize that this is an extraordinarily difficult time for the SeaWorld parks, and our team members.

    Nothing is more important than the safety of our employees, guests and the animals entrusted to our care. All of our standard operating procedures will come under review as part of the investigation.

    We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the trainer and will do everything possible to assist them in this difficult time.

    We appreciate everyone’s understanding and will share more information as it becomes known and available.


    Jim Atchison
    UPDATE: February 25th

    Sea World posted comments about the fate of Tilly on their blog:

    http://www.seaworldparksblog.com/exp...aworld-updates

    There are also some operational updates for both Sea World Orlando and San Diego (San Antonio is still closed for the season)

    SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Diego will be open Thursday, February 25 as scheduled (SeaWorld San Antonio is not yet open for the season) but Believe shows and Dine with Shamu experiences at all SeaWorld locations have been suspended; no decision has been made for future dates at this time
    Update: February 26th

    According to a press conference today, the killer whale shows will resume tomorrow.

    SeaWorld CEO says shows with killer whales will resume Saturday - CNN.com

    (CNN) -- SeaWorld will resume killer whale shows while the company and two federal agencies investigate the death of a whale trainer at SeaWorld Orlando, company and federal officials announced Friday.

    The shows, which were suspended at all SeaWorld locations after the death Wednesday at SeaWorld Orlando, will resume Saturday with new precautionary measures in place, said Jim Atchison, president of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

    Earlier Friday, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced they were looking into the death of Dawn Brancheau, 40.

    Brancheau was pulled underwater when a killer whale named Tilikum grabbed her ponytail. She died from multiple injuries and drowning.
    Atchison said Tilikum "is a wonderful animal" and "will remain an active and contributing member of the team despite what happened."

    "He's a very special animal that requires special handling. Obviously the procedures that we've had in place are something we're revisiting at this point," he said.

    Tilikum's size and weight -- 12,000 pounds, compared with 6,000 to 9,000 pounds for the facility's other killer whales -- was one reason there were separate procedures in place for him at the Orlando facility.

    When the shows with killer whales resume Saturday at Orlando and other SeaWorld parks, trainers won't get into the water with the animals. "Direct interactions" with the animals were suspended in all three SeaWorld parks after the death.
    Last edited by sir clinksalot; 02-26-2010 at 02:42 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Killer Whale Trainer killed at Sea World Orlando

    that is tragic.

  3. #3

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    Re: Killer Whale Trainer killed at Sea World Orlando

    Not during a show. But during a public viewing.


    SeaWorld Trainer Attacked, Killed By Whale
    A whale attacked and killed a trainer
    at SeaWorld Orlando Wednesday afternoon, the sheriff's office said. LIVE VIDEO: Local 6 News Coverage
    IMAGES: SeaWorld Pictures
    Last edited by pratt55; 02-24-2010 at 02:31 PM. Reason: possible copyright infringement.

  4. #4

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    Re: Killer Whale Trainer killed at Sea World Orlando

    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • Incident occurred at Orlando, Florida, attraction
    • Trainer pronounced dead at scene
    • Spokeswoman says it didn't happen during performance

    (CNN) -- A killer whale killed a trainer Wednesday afternoon at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida, a spokesman for the Orange County Fire Department said.
    "The trainer was explaining different things about the whale, and then the trainer that was down there walked away from the window. Then [the whale] took off really fast in the tank, and he came back, shot up in the air, grabbed the trainer by the waist and started thrashing [her] around," Biniak said.
    Biniak told WKMG that the whale, named Tilikum, or Telly for short, does not typically have a trainer in its tank because it is too large.
    Tilikum is a nearly 30-year-old, 12,300-pound bull orca.
    Last edited by pratt55; 02-24-2010 at 02:32 PM. Reason: copyright

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    Re: Killer Whale Trainer killed at Sea World Orlando

    A friend of mine used to work at Sea World and still has contacts there. According to one of them, Tilly did not want to perform today regardless it being an actual show or a public viewing. My friend remembers seeing Tilly when she worked there in the 90's and always thought he was one big brute and the biggest orca whale she had ever seen.

    And from what my friend's contact said, it's likely Tilly will be put down since he's been involved with more than one incident regarding trainers.

  6. #6

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    Re: Killer Whale Trainer killed at Sea World Orlando

    This whale previously killed a trainer in Canada, reports CNN. Honestly, this animal should not be so close to the public, in an open tank. That's simply irresponsible.

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    Re: Killer Whale Trainer killed at Sea World Orlando

    And Sea World is going to lose millions in lost admissions. It will cost millions to repair their public image. And they will lose millions in a wrongful death civil suit.

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    Re: Killer Whale Trainer killed at Sea World Orlando

    Sea World will be lucky if actual footage doesn't show up on YouTube by the end of the week.

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    Re: Killer Whale Trainer killed at Sea World Orlando

    Quote Originally Posted by aimster View Post

    And from what my friend's contact said, it's likely Tilly will be put down since he's been involved with more than one incident regarding trainers.
    How sad. This is what happens when you try to tame a wild animal.
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    Re: Killer Whale Trainer killed at Sea World Orlando

    This is extremely sad news. However, these are wild and very dangerous animals and not toys or just cute mascots. Any of the trainers would tell you that they understand the dangers of their job.

    Considering the number of performances that Sea World puts on at their parks every day, it is amazing that there aren't more injuries. They are called "Killer" Whales for a reason.
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    Re: Killer Whale Trainer killed at Sea World Orlando

    Quote Originally Posted by disneylandtour View Post
    Sea World will be lucky if actual footage doesn't show up on YouTube by the end of the week.
    I was thinking the same thing. This happened in a public viewing area. You KNOW someone got this on tape.

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    Re: Killer Whale Trainer killed at Sea World Orlando

    What a total Bummer, you can tell that the trainers are so proud of there jobs, what a tragedy.

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    Re: Killer Whale Trainer killed at Sea World Orlando



    This is bad PR for all orcas.

  14. #14

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    Re: Killer Whale Trainer killed at Sea World Orlando

    Quote Originally Posted by aimster View Post
    You KNOW someone got this on tape.
    Sea World for one. They tape that show for use on the big screens and for performance records, notes, and safety.

    You can be sure that they'll be going over that tape with a fine tooth comb.
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    Re: Killer Whale Trainer killed at Sea World Orlando

    I'm glad the whale is being put down. Shoulda happened after the first time.

    I feel so bad for the trainer's family. I6t is arisk you take, but I hope they clean up.

    And the people who saw it happen... I cannot even imagine what the are going through.
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