Autopsy Report for Trainer Killed by Whale at SeaWorld

Posted on April 7, 2010

Most people have heard by now about the horrible and tragic accident at SeaWorld in Orlando that led to the death of a trainer. The incident took place on Wednesday, February 24, when a killer whale named Tilikum, attacked a trainer during a show at the Orlando attraction. The 40 year-old trainer was known to be experienced at her job; however, she was dragged around by the whale in front of the horrified visitors and died in front of them.

A former animal trainer who has turned into an animal advocate, says he wrote a letter to SeaWorld three years ago warning them that there would be an accident with the show mammals. “Happy animals don’t kill their trainers,” he said. Deeply intelligent and highly social, Tilikum, a 23-foot, 6-ton male, was involved in two previous fatalities.

Elsewhere in the captive mammal world, a part-time trainer was grabbed and drowned in 1991 at Sealand in British Columbia. The same whale was shipped to SeaWorld in Orlando where a naked dead man was found laying on the orca’s back. He had slipped into the facility at night and died of hypothermia.

It is indeed tragic and shocking that the SeaWorld trainer in the aforementioned accident was the third person who died at the hands of this specific killer whale. The autopsy report was released the first week of April. According to reports, the trainer suffered blunt force trauma and drowning in addition to other very severe injuries.

It would be advisable for establishments that put on similar animal shows to revaluate the condition in which their subjects are being handled to ensure that accidents like these stop now. Wrongful death incidents that could have been prevented are some of the most tragic. Our hearts and deepest sympathy go out to this woman’s family and anyone else who has lost a loved one due to an animal attack.


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