Trainer Killed By Killer Whale at SeaWorld Orlando!

@anniepa (26273)
United States
February 24, 2010 5:18pm CST
This story is still breaking as I write this. A 40 year old female trainer at SeaWorld in Orlando, FL was killed this afternoon when she was pulled under the water and shaken around by one of the whales as the show was about to begin. I understand the cause of death was drowning. The stadium was evacuated and the shows have been canceled at least for today although I'm sure it will be for longer than that. I've been there many times and I've always really enjoyed the Shamu show. I likely saw the same trainer that lost her life today on one or more occasions. Any thoughts on this tragic death? Have you ever been to SeaWorld at any of their locations and did you ever even imagine something like this happening? Do you think this will change things at SeaWorld as far as the live shows they have with their trainers right in the water with these huge killer whales? Annie
5 people like this
17 responses
@Fadolf (546)
• Slovenia
24 Feb 10
As I live in Europe I still haven't seen one of SeaWorld shows. This is really tragic story, but even we train these animals hard and practice with them every day, we always forget that animals will always be animals. You can't change the natural born instinct, can you? Take care and happy mylotting.
2 people like this
@anniepa (26273)
• United States
26 Feb 10
I agree and it's also the matter of the whale weighing several tons. The whale wouldn't have to be intentionally "attacking" a human to hurt them very badly orkill them. He could have thought he was "playing"! Annie
@smileonstar (4014)
• United States
24 Feb 10
HI, I used to go to Seaworld in San Diego, Ca. I love that show so much... Shamu is a fun whale and look so cute too. wow, I can't believe what you just told here... I feel so sorry for the family and hope it will not happen again
2 people like this
@anniepa (26273)
• United States
25 Feb 10
I've been to the Orlando SeaWorld many times and my whole family loves the show. My grandkids always liked to sit down in the "soak zone" so they'd get splashed. Apparently the whale involved in this deadly incident is the one that has always done the splashing at the end of the show. I very clearly remember the young woman that was killed and my daughter has her on video from our trip there last March. Annie
@anklesmash (1417)
25 Feb 10
I am from the UK and havent seen any of the shows or anything but i heard on the news over here that the whale was involved in two other incidents that lead to a fatality.If so the animal should not have been doing shows.
2 people like this
• United States
25 Feb 10
This is one of the saddest things, I have been there also and enjoyed that show, but we have to understand it is an animal that is not in its natural habitat, this is the same that happens in the circus when lions and tigers attack their trainers, these are animals that have been caught and separated from their habitat, and they can flip, they are creatures that can also have bad moments, and unfortunately that can be fatal for some other people, again this is very sad, and I feel very sorry for this poor woman and her family that have to go through all this.
2 people like this
• United States
25 Feb 10
I live in Florida and I went to SeaWorld over the summer last year. I missed the daytime Shamu show but I did catch the night one and it was a great show. I have been thinking a lot about this ever since it happened and I have crossed views on it. I understand that it is a "wild" animal and there is no way to tell when the "wild" side might come out of the animal. This animal has attacked before and nothing happened to the animal. The trainers family commented saying the lady that was killed would not have wanted anything to happen to the animal because the trainers understand what they are putting themselves through. On the other hand I just think, why hasn't SeaWorld had the animals breed to produce new ones and raise those to do the shows? The baby killer whales will be use to be people and its surroundings so there is a less chance it will attack. But my friend last night was telling me that people who do train animals understand that they are wild and at any time anything could happen.
2 people like this
• United States
25 Feb 10
I just heard on the news this morning that this whale has been involved in other deadly incidents before. It seems that Sea World has closed this exhibit for the time being.
2 people like this
@snoopyfan (1315)
• United States
24 Feb 10
No it won't change the way they do the shows. This isn't the first trainer to die at Sea World. There are also two different versions one saying there was no audience who saw and one where there was no audience. I believe it is a sad story and a accident. They are dealing with wild animals and for whatever reason this whale felt threatened by whatever happened and was defending itself. I have been at Sea World in San Diego and I have always enjoyed my experience there. I love killer whales because they are beautiful animals. I enjoy the shows and the last few times I was lucky enough to meet the new "baby shamu". My thoughts and prayers go out to the family. In time though the show will go on. It is just a risk these people take doing something they love being with animals.
2 people like this
@skysuccess (8882)
• Singapore
25 Feb 10
anniepa, I think this is an accident not for the asking and the whale was actually not the one that is supposed to perform stunts that involves having a trainer in the water. The mammal in question was actually involved with another incident back some years ago and this attack actually came about after the trainer had accidentally slipped and fell into this whale's tank. This is just an unfortunate accident and not any negligence on the amusement park's part. So, I am sure it will affect future visitors. Have a nice day.
@anniepa (26273)
• United States
1 Mar 10
He was apparently a homeless guy who had hidden in the park and then sneaked and jumped into the tank where the whales were. How stupid can one get! Annie
1 person likes this
@Thoroughrob (11771)
• United States
25 Feb 10
That would be so horrible to see, but they know that risk when they are working with them. I don't think they will change much as that is one of the big attractions to Sea World. I am sure they will investigate and try to figure out what set off the whale to pull her under.
1 person likes this
@anniepa (26273)
• United States
1 Mar 10
I guess he grabbed her ponytail! Who'd have thought, but actually it makes sense. Animals all have their playful side, I'd imagine, and I know my cats will "attack" anything that's swinging back and forth in front of their faces. Annie
@spalladino (17927)
• United States
28 Feb 10
Hiya Annie! I've never been to Sea World...or to any of the attractions up in Orlando...because my kids are grown and the grandkids are still mostly too young. I actually never gave those whales much thought until this happened and, now that I know more, I have a lot of concerns. As if their conditions weren't bad enough, now that the show has reopened, the trainers are not permitted to go into the water with them so I'm sure that change has confused them even more. Something was wrong that day...with all of them from the reports I've seen. It's a shame.
1 person likes this
@Opal26 (17694)
• United States
25 Feb 10
Hi annie! This was a very heartbreaking story as I know that this trainer really loved her job and this whale! But, when you are dealing with a creature from the sea who is born to be wild and not made a captive for a "freak show" bad things happen! I am sorry that she was killed, but I just don't feel that it is right to put these whales in a tank where they are basically held captive and made to perform which is so completely unnatural for them! The whale can't be blamed and they aren't blaming him! He didn't know what he was doing! He spent many years with this trainer and never hurt her before! Something agitatated him and no one will ever know what it was that made him do this! It is a no win situation and I feel sorry for these animals/mammals! I really think that it is just too much for them to be made to perform! I have never been to Sea World and I have always wanted to go to see the Dolphins, but again it is just really not right to keep them in captivity and make them a "circus act"! I am an avid animal lover so it really breaks my heart what happened here~
1 person likes this
@fattymc (141)
25 Feb 10
I'm sorry to here such a tragic thing. Though this is kind of weird... If this whale is trained, then why was she killed. Maybe once in a while, the whale would enjoy being in it's own habitat. Obviously, none of us would like to be taken from our homes, and I think the whale needs to be a little bit more free. I've never been to SeaWorld but I've heard a lot about it. This might discourage people from seeing the Shamu show now, I'm afraid. This is a big dent in SeaWorld reputation. The workers at SeaWorld should be more careful when dealing with animals now.
1 person likes this
@agrant10 (1446)
• United States
25 Feb 10
I went to SeaWorld in Florida when I was a child. I think that this is a sad situation. I hope that something will be done so that no one else will loose their live. I heard on the news that this is not the first time this has happened with this particular whale. Apparently the whale has killed before. I will be curious to see what they will do and how the establishment will handle this. Meanwhile my prayer goes out to the trainers' family.
1 person likes this
@cream97 (29175)
• United States
24 Feb 10
Hi, anniepa. This is very tragic news to hear about! I could never be in water that has sea creatures. It is just weigh too dangerous for me. I have never been to SeaWorld at all. It is no surprise that this has happened. I mean, these waters contain many types of sea creatures that can be fast and dangerous. Since this has happened, I am sure that many trainers and watchers will lessen coming to these events. I know that they may be afraid to take chances with their lives. I know that I would be.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Mar 10
I was to Sea World in FL when I was a kid. I think the sad part is that this isn't the first person this particular whale has killled and they should not of used this animal any further. I dunno if they can return them into the wild but I would not be content if I was the owner of Sea World by replacing this trainer with another. And also put more safety precautions in place. From the footage they showed did anyone else not see a life jacket on the trainer? SO sad but in the same right they know the danger of working with a wild animal just like those magicians did a few years back.
• United States
27 Feb 10
This is so tragic and sad. I really feel for the trainer. I really think people are messing with nature and people don't relize that animals and wild creatures even though someone has trained them can turn on you at anytime. They have natural and wild instincts. Even though tame still will act out with out even relizing it. I really don't think we should me taming wild animals unless they are endangered. I only say this because things like the accident that happened at sea world. I do admit I love watching shows like that. I really think it's amazing how they can train a fish.
@emarie (5455)
• United States
24 Feb 10
It is tragic but I do understand that it's part of their job to work with these animals. No matter if their trained or not they are still wild animals. I've been to the Sea World in San Diego and I don't think this will ever effect me from going there again. The economy stops me from going really. The question if I ever thought of something like this happening, well, it's not too far off. These aren't pets. They're nicknamed KILLER WHALES and I understand that. They are my favorite type of whale for their beauty and looks. I give any of these trainers credit for getting in the water with them. For anyone in the profession of working with animals puts themselves at risk. They know and we know it somewhere in our mind. As far as changing the shows I can't be sure. I don't know how much of an effect this will have on the public and I'm not sure if this is the first time something like this has happened. But there are also risks involved. Depending on how the company wants to do business, they might internally change their policies but I don't think there's going to be much of an effect on the general public.