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Last Updated: Thursday February 25 2010 14:17 GMT

Trainer dies in killer whale attack

Trainer dies in killer whale attack

A trainer has died after being attacked by a killer whale at the SeaWorld park in Orlando, Florida.

Some people who were there said the whale, called Tilikum, grabbed trainer Dawn Brancheau from the side of the pool and pulled her into the water.

However, local police said she may have slipped and fallen into the pool.

Mrs Brancheau had worked with killer whales for 16 years. This is the third time Tilikum has been involved in the death of a human.

Tilikum was one of three orca whales involved in the death of a trainer in 1991 after she had fallen into a pool at a park in Canada.

Dawn Brancheau performing with a whale at the park
Dawn Brancheau performing with a whale at the park

Then Tilikum was moved to SeaWorld in Orlando and a man was found dead in her pool. It was thought the man had crept into the park after closing time.

Guests who were at the pool were taken away from the area while staff tried to revive Mrs Brancheau, but sadly it was too late.

Investigation

A SeaWorld spokesman said an investigation was under way to find out exactly what happened.

Although they are called killer whales, orcas are actually the largest member of the dolphin family.

SeaWorld Orlando has temporarily closed after the incident.



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