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SeaWorld Killer Whale Trainer Attack Video Goes Viral

July 25, 2012

The shocking video depicting a killer whale dragging and dunking a trainer at SeaWorld San Diego has gone viral and is being aired by all major news networks in the U.S. and abroad.

The November 29, 2006 attack on trainer Ken Peters by a killer whale (Orcinus-orca) named Kasatka led to an investigation by California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, much akin to the more recent OSHA investigation into the brutal death of SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.

Although the injuries sustained by Peters were relatively mild by comparison, the video which was shown in court proceedings this past Fall led Administrative Law Judge Ken Welsch to describe the footage as “chilling” as he ruled to uphold the charges in the SeaWorld vs OSHA case. SeaWorld was appealing the OSHA citations issued to the marine park after Dawn Brancheau’s death.

Following the 2006 Peters event- in their report- CAL/OSHA concluded “The contributing factors to the accident, in the simplest of terms, is that swimming with captive orcas is inherently dangerous and if someone hasn’t been killed already it is only a matter of time before it does happen.” Due to intense pressure by SeaWorld and some political wrangling, the report was later rescinded.

Since then, two orca trainers have been killed within the pools of marine parks- Alexis Martinez in December 2009 at Loro Park in the Canary Islands (by Keto, an orca on loan from SeaWorld) and just two months later Dawn Brancheau was pulled into the water by Tilikum at SeaWorld Orlando.

The full 15 minute video from 2006 of Ken Peters being repeatedly dragged to the bottom of the pool can be seen below as well as the initial report issued by CAL-OSHA.

For all of the details on this video and more on the Ken Peters incident, please visit the following links by David Kirby, author of a new book “Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whale Captivity” (St Martins Press) released July 17, 2012:

Near Death At SeaWorld: Worldwide Exclusive Video ~ Huffington Post
WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVE: NEAR DEATH AT SEAWORLD ~ http://www.deathatseaworld.com
Video shows whale attacking trainer at Sea World ~ CBS News This Morning

The full 15-minute attack video can be seen below (Note- There is no audio with this video):

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The initial report issued by CAL-OSHA can be seen below or by clicking HERE (The final OSHA report after rescinding the above statements can be found HERE).

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Alison permalink
    November 28, 2013 7:30 am

    What happened to the poor whale? We are all talking about his injuries but I haven’t seen anything written (I may have missed it) or said about what was the outcome for the poor whale .

  2. November 14, 2012 12:35 am

    Hey everybody! The Transportation Commission has decided to name one of its two new ferries the Tokitae!!!! Found the details on the Seattle Times page tonight and also posted them on my blog. Fantastic!!

  3. Anna B. permalink
    August 9, 2012 11:38 pm

    What really struck me in the video, is how obvious it is (to me anyway) that the whale is acting very deliberately. It is fully aware that the trainer, like all humans and whales, needs to come up to the surface to breathe. The whale also knows that we humans need to come up for air a lot quicker than whales need to. To me, it’s so clear that the whale knows exactly what it is doing and either it is trying to give the trainer a very clear message, trying to teach him a lesson, or reverse the roles, or if it is just lashing out out of frustration, desperation – I don’t know. It may be trying to decide whether to only give the trainer a good scare or whether to actually kill him.

    But what it makes very clear, is how completely deliberate, intentional the whales actions are. All I can think of, is the repeated claims that Tilikum and the other whales that have been involved in deaths and injuries to trainers, were not INTENDING to kill their trainers but rather that they got carried away “playing” and didn’t mean to injure or kill those trainers, but rather that they simply saw them as “toys” or “playthings”

    If this whale clearly decided to let the trainer live and did this by taking care to bring him back up to the surface more than once, then in my mind, it makes it just as clear to me that Tilikum and other whales involved in deaths or injuries, just as deliberately chose NOT to allow the trainers to go up for air. They would know it instinctively since it is the same for them; they consciously go up for air themselves and surely must know that not doing so would mean death for them as well (think of Rick O’Barry’s Cathy the dolphin’s story of “suicide” aka intentionally not coming up for air and dying as a result).

    Sorry if I’m long winded but if I was never really convinced by those claims about the whales that have killed or injured trainers that the whales were just “playing” and “didn’t mean to” or understand their actions against the trainers, this video makes it absolutely clear to me that they knew exactly what they were doing. Their exact reasons or motivations remain unknown but no one can convince me that it was not deliberate or that it was just play and that they simply did not understand.

    They knew from the start and unlike the whale in this video, clearly weren’t undecided about what damage they wanted to inflict and they did not give their victims all the time this whale gave the trainer, to catch his breath etc. Both trainers whose deaths Tilikum was involved in/responsible for, were kept underwater longer, given little chance to go up for air and drowned within minutes. This whale was trying to give the trainer a warning or a message and was making sure the trainer understood and took it seriously.

    I can’t believe 1) that Sea World executives can still justify to themselves, the public and to their employees, who are the ones taking the risks, that being in the water with killer whales is a wise, safe or reasonable thing to do 2) that the trainers, who’ve probably all witnessed at least one incident and by now know of the many that have been made public, would still think it’s wise to put *themselves* at risk and in the water with killer whales. I don’t get it. You couldn’t pay me enough to do it – and these guys are barely paid and voluntarily do it. What are they thinking? Are they in denial?

    Anyway, thanks for posting that video – chilling indeed. I’m about halfway through David Kirby’s book and this is timely and complements it nicely. Sorry for rambling on… :)

  4. julie permalink
    August 3, 2012 6:16 am

    thank you – for all that you do to spread the word that 45 years of whales being in capitivity hasnt worked – it was an experiment that went wrong. i wish these marine parks would just hold their hands up and say it didnt work out and release these whales to sea pens. they could charge people to go and see the whales in the sea then they would still make money. Seaworld is already going down the theme park route – keep going that way and release these whales.

  5. July 25, 2012 2:45 pm

    I watched this video earlier today and almost cried. It is so painfully obvious that Ken Peters’ life is in serious danger here (and anyone else who is working with these animals) but the power of the “big bucks” stifles a report that could have saved lives. The sad thing is that I’m sure that the exact same type of thing happens all the time in many different areas of our society. It’s scary to think that big money is continually making life less safe just so that they can make a dollar.

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