SeaWorld fined $75,000 over killer whale attack

15:12, August 24, 2010      

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Veteran SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau is shown in an undated file picture with an unidentified killer whale. Brancheau died February 24, 2010 in an incident with a large killer whale at the theme park in Orlando, Florida.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

SeaWorld has been fined 75,000 U.S. dollars for safety violations after the Feb. 24 death of an animal trainer who was attacked by a killer whale during a live show, according to AFP reports.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) said SeaWorld, which owns several marine life entertainment parks in the United States, was being fined for three safety violations, including one classified as willful.

"SeaWorld recognized the inherent risk of allowing trainers to interact with potentially dangerous animals," said Cindy Coe, OSHA's regional administrator.

"Nonetheless, it required its employees to work within the pool walls, on ledges and on shelves where they were subject to dangerous behavior by the animals."

The 40-year-old Dawn Brancheau, one of the veteran trainers of the park, was killed by whale Tilikkum this year. Tilikkum was involved in two other previous deadly whale attacks in 1991 and 1999.

According to previous reports, the show was just starting when the whale ''took off really fast in the tank, and then he came back, shot up in the air, grabbed the trainer by the waist and started thrashing around, and one of her shoes flew off," as audience member Victoria Biniak told WKMG-TV.

OSHA said its investigation also "revealed that SeaWorld trainers had an extensive history of unexpected and potentially dangerous incidents involving killer whales at its various facilities, including its location in Orlando."

"Despite this record, management failed to make meaningful changes to improve the safety of the work environment for its employees."

Source: Xinhua


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