OSHA has cited SeaWorld Orlando for three safety violations following the death of marine mammal trainer Dawn Brancheau earlier this year.
Brancheau died when a six-ton orca named Tilikum pulled her underwater in full view of park patrons. The investigation revealed that Tilikum was one of three whales involved in the 1991 death of an animal trainer at Sea Land of the Pacific in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.
The animal had such a dangerous reputation that SeaWorld forbade trainers from swimming with him. SeaWorld officials did allow trainers to touch and interact with Tilikum. The incident occurred during a “relationship session” where the trainer remained on a ledge at the side of the pool. Tilikum grabbed Brancheau’s ponytail and pulled her into the pool, where she drowned.
SeaWorld still faces citiations for not providing adequate employee safeguards against a whale attack and failing to install a stairway on the pool edge.