Killer Whale Kills Trainer At SeaWorld

SeaWorld animal trainer Dawn Brancheau, 40, was killed Wednesday at SeaWorld Orlando during a show by Tillikum, a whale involved in two other deaths. While police say Brancheau slipped, onlookers insist that the whale knocked or grabbed her. One onlooker on the video below stated that the whale appeared to be acting strange in the prior show before the incident.

The whale is 11,000-pounds and 22 feet long. Tillikum has sired some 13 offspring.

Witnesses insist that the whale grabbed the trainer in the 35-foot-deep tank at Shamu Stadium and proceeded to shake her violently. However, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said she just slipped. Jim Solomons states “[t]his appears to be an accident.” I am not sure what that means since no one is alleging murder by means of a whale.

UPDATE: it now appears that the whale may be grabbed her by her ponytail, here.

In 1999, a 27-year-old man’s body was found in Tillikum’s tank and experts believe he died from the whale’s “horseplay.” The man had hid in the facility and then jumped into the tank.

Tillikum and two other whales also were involved in the drowning of a trainer at a Victoria, British Columbia, marine park in 1991.

There is of course strict liability for injuries caused by wild animals. However, zoos and animal attractions often have special exemption from the common law rules — requiring a showing of negligence. In this case, there is also likely to be a contract that expressly assume the risk of work with wild animals — making this a worker’s compensation issue. That does not mean that there could not be liability depending on the findings of the investigation. At least one witness in the segment below stated that the whale appeared to be acting strangely in the prior show.

For the full story, click here and here.

16 thoughts on “Killer Whale Kills Trainer At SeaWorld”

  1. Sea World has issued contradictory reports on the Whale murder… muddy waters are benefiting the owners of the Sea World Im afraid…divide opinions, put out inconsistent information, confuse and thrive…just another day at the office Im afraid.

    I am sure that Sea World has put bottom line before the well being of the whale, humans, trainers and anyone else who stood in the way of making profits.

    The root of the problem is deeper Im afraid. I’ve written about it on my blog if anyone cares to comment …

  2. @puzzling

    Do you think in the Family of this person…..This is so sad is not something to said “Ho im happy because she die and now well i feel better with the whale”

    Everything in life is with animal nature or human nature this is not funny that was an attack and no one can said No.

  3. This is so sad but really must be expected. These are wild animals held in capivity against there will. Sooner or later they are going to have a bad day and act up. Hopfully they can learn from this so that it never happens again.

  4. Its sad but they are called “KILLER WHALES” not “cute whales” or “big cuddley whales”. They Kill its in thier name, its what they do. Let’em go free.

  5. Isn’t sea world strictly liable for this? Killer whale is definitely a wild animal. The fact that it’s in captivity does not mitigate that status.

  6. I agree its a sad thing all the way around. Its sad that she died, and sad that the whale is held captive in a 35 foot tank (like a wading pool to the whale) and forced to perform stupid tricks to entertain the silly mobs of people who go to see them.

    Sad, sad story.

  7. I haven’t and would never go to Sea world, or any like place. I avoid zoos and circuses also. The smugness of humanity in its belief to being the acme of evolution is intolerable. I also believe the evidence that both whales and dolphins are sentient beings and therefore should not be held in miserable captivity and “trained” to participate in cute acts.

  8. I don’t know the backround of this story but I find myself wondering about the quality of this wild animal’s life.
    I agree with Budda “Sad all the way around”.

  9. AY… AB no longer owns any of the entertainment parks …they were spun off as a independent company called SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment

  10. Puzzling:

    If you assume animals have rights and are rational beings endowed by their creator . . .

  11. I understand that Sea World is posturing that the employee breached her employee contract. I am unsure but before Budweisers sale they were owned by the King of Beers. I am unsure if this is still the case.

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