Early this afternoon around 2 p.m at Seaworld Shamu Stadium in Orlando Florida, Dawn Brancheau, a 40 year old trainer was killed by Tillikum, the killer whale. The whale name is Tillikum who is 11,000 pounds and 22 feet long.
The incident happened around 2:00pm in front of a horrified audience at SeaWorld in Orlando. The 40-year-old veteran trainer was one of SeaWorld’s most experienced trainers. According to a witness the whale jumped up and grabbed the trainer by the waist and shook her until her shoe came off. She later drowned.
There have been other attacks on whale trainers at SeaWorld parks. Back in November of 2006 one of the trainers at the San Diego Park was bitten and drug underwater by his foot several times. The trainer required surgery and received a broken foot.
Oddly enough just a few weeks prior to the November incident, a different Orca had grabbed another trainer the same way. Fortunately, the whale obeyed the command to release the trainer who then swam free.
Another trainer was not that lucky when he performing at SeaWorld in 1987. While riding a whale around the tank, a second whale leaped onto the trainer, breaking his pelvis, multiple ribs and his leg.
Dan Brown, Vice President and general manager of Seaworld says, they never experienced an incident like that before, but a spokesman for People for the Ethinical Treatment said, “the death is a tragedy that didn’t have to happen.”
After three deaths, isn’t it time to stop using the 12,000-pound Tilikum in shows?