Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Trainer dies in killer whale show at SeaWorld Orlando

Sad news out of Orlando today. 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.

The Shamu Stadium area of the park has been cordoned off, and many guests are unaware of the incident. The reports are all over the place right now, but early indication is the incident occurred directly after the main show area was closed (the "splash zone wave" at the end of the show didn't go as planned because a few of the whales were being uncooperative).

Trainers were closing off that show and gearing up for a "Dine With Shamu" event. Mixed reports are coming in, and crime scene investigators have arrived - yet to make any statements. All of this happened between 12:30-12:45pm today.

One outlet has reported that this is the same whale that was involved in the death of someone who was trespassing after hours in 1999 - but that seems like conjecture at this point.

Female trainer, highly experienced, 40 years old. Slipped and fell alongside/into a holding tank. Since this is being called a drowning, it seems likely that the killer whale dragged her under. Sad news indeed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her friends, family and co-workers.

Orlando Sentinel Article 


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