Incidents between humans and killer whales in captivity -
a longer list than the parks would like to tell you!


Orky 2 lands on trainer John Sillick in November 1987
Orky 2 lands on trainer John Sillick in November 1987



Several accounts of violent incidents with humans have appeared in books and news clips, with little information on the dates or details of those incidents. Other descriptions have made headlines, and some were captured on video tape (beware, those can be quite graphic). There are also anecdotal reports of incidents that were never officially documented.



NO. DATE AQUARIUM WHALEs INCIDENT SOURCE
1960s and 1970s
# 1967 Marineland of the Pacific, USA Orky "Orky is quite a handful even now," says Marineland curator John Prescott. "I'm alwalys afraid of him when I'm in his tank. Once I was swimming around him and he started pushing. Believe me I got out of there fast. He is so huge you could be seriously hurt if he just hit you by accident." Kingsport News, November 16, 1967.
# 1968 New York Aquarium, USA Lupa When water level was lowered for pool cleaning, young female Lupa sent trainers scrambling from the pool, snapping her jaws threatening. Edward R. Riciuti, , New York, Walker & Co., 1973, pp. 227-228.
# 1968 Seattle Aquarium, USA Kandu Young female Kandu pushes her trainers around, working with her is described as too rough. The Appleton Post-Crescent, June 13, 1968.
# 1969 Marine World California, USA Kianu Trainer William (Sonny) Allen describes being dumped and threatened by young female Kianu, including an incident where she pinned his leg against the side of her training pool. The Chicago Daily Herald, October 24, 1969.
# late 1960s unknown unknown Former SeaWorld trainer Jerry Watmore states that if captive killer whales "are provoked or frustrated, they can butt you or hit you with their tail and knock you down at the bottom of the pool. Or, they might grab an arm or a leg." The Fresno Bee The Republican, July 29, 1970.
# 1970 Miami Seaquarium, USA Hugo Trainer Chris Christiansen received several stitches in his cheeks after placing his head within the jaws of young male Hugo, closing his mouth on a mis-cue. Redlands Daily Facts, January 22, 1971; Edward R. Riciuti, Killers of the Sea, New York, Walker & Co., 1973, pp. 232-233.
# 1970s unknown unknown Karen Pryor writes, "I have since heard... of at least one killer whale which launched an unprovoked attack on a favorite trainer, in normal circumstances, savaged him very badly, and nearly killed him." Karen Pryor, Lads Before the Wind, New York, Harper & Row, 1976, p. 220.
# 1970s unknown unknown SeaWorld head trainer Bob Shepard received a minor wound on his head when a killer whale closed its mouth on his head, after being startled by a camera flash. The article states "Shamu" but this is most probably just the show name being used for many orcas at SeaWorld. The Long Beach Independent, August 3, 1977; The Pocono Record, March 19, 1975.
# 1970s unknown unknown SeaWorld training director Vic Charfauros stated that "there have been a couple of cases where people have received minor injuries from animals. We had one instance in San Diego where a killer whale didn't want a female trainer to leave the tank and stopped her by taking her leg in the mouth. She got a little panicky and tried to pull the leg out. She got a bunch of stitches after her leg raked along those teeth..." The Odessa American, August 16, 1977.
# 1970s unknown unknown Killer whale researcher Graeme Ellis, a former employee at Sealand of the Pacific, said in 1975: "A captive whale has only a year, maybe two, before his mental health starts going downhill. Some get bored, lethargic. Others turn neurotic and perhaps dangerous. There was a girl at Sea World in San Diego bitten by Shamu, who started playing a tug-of-war with her leg. Other whales have held their trainers underwater, almost drowning them. Some of these accidents have happened when the trainers were riding the whales around the pool. In my experience, whales don't like to be ridden; they may tolerate it when they're young or new to captivity, but later, no. They still ride the whales at Sea World, but the whales in Canadian aquariums are not ridden anymore. When I visited the California aquariumjs a few years ago, I saw a big old bull at one of them that they kept in a back pool, away from mthe public. They said he'd killed five dolphins and taken a grab at a lady. There was a standing offer of §500 for anyone who would swim across his tank." Erich Hoyt, Orca - The Whale Called Killer, Firefly Books, 1990, p. 125f.
# 1970's Vancouver Aquarium, Canada Skana Trainer Doug Pemberton described young female Skana as the dominant animal in the pool. "She is capable of changing moods in minutes". He described Skana and her young male companion Hyak 2 as "moody", and recalled that, "Skana once showed her dislike by dragging a trainer around the pool. Her teeth sank into his wetsuit but missed his leg." Cranky killer whales put trainers through their paces, The Province, May 5, 1978.
# 1970's Vancouver Aquarium, Canada Hyak 2 Undocumented report of young male Hyak 2 breaking a trainer's leg by hitting it with his tail fluke. Story on internet sites but no original source known.
# early 1970's Marine World California, USA Kianu Trainer Jeff Pulaski, accustomed to riding young female Kianu during performances, was thrown off and chased out of the tank. Don C. Reed, Notes from an Underwater Zoo, Dial Press, 1981, p. 250.
# early 1970's Marine World California, USA Nepo Trainer Dave Worcester was dragged to the bottom of the pool by young male Nepo. Don C. Reed, Notes from an Underwater Zoo, Dial Press, 1981, p. 250.
# early 1970's Miami Seaquarium, USA Hugo Trainer Mike Jax states that Hugo has "hurt a couple of people accidentally by doing things like butting them with his nose if they irritate him." The Danville Register, September 5, 1972.
# early 1970's Miami Seaquarium, USA Hugo, Lolita Trainer Manny Velasco recalled both young whales Hugo and Lolita becoming aggressive, lunging at trainers on the platform. Edward R. Riciuti, Killers of the Sea, New York, Walker & Co., 1973, pp. 232-233.
# early 1970's Miami Seaquarium, USA Hugo, Lolita Trainer Chip Kirk got away with a permanent scar on his arm after being pushed around continously by young male Hugo. Trainer Jeff Pulaski had been grabbed by Hugo, then had his wetsuit torn from him by both Hugo and Lolita. The Miami News, December 17, 1975.
# early 1970's Marineland of the Pacific, USA Orky 2 Unidentified male trainer was seized by the leg and held at the bottom of the pool until the man almost lost consciousness by young male Orky 2. Edward R. Riciuti, Killers of the Sea, New York, Walker & Co., 1973, pp. 228-229.; Chicago Tribune (story sounds like it's the same incident).
# early 1970's Sea World California, USA Shamu Kent Burgess, the director of Sea World's animal training department, had been responsible for training Shamu ever since Sea World first acquired the animal. He knew Shamu was conditioned to being ridden only by persons wearing wetsuits, and that Shamu had in the past attacked persons who attempted to ride her in an ordinary bathing suit: first a Catalina swimsuit model and then Jim Richards, one of the trainers at Sea World. In addition, Burgess had read training records which showed Shamu had been behaving erratically since early March 1971. This information he did not disclose to plaintiff. Justia US Law, November 19, 1976
# early 1970's Sea World California, USA Shamu Kent Burgess, the director of Sea World's animal training department, had been responsible for training Shamu ever since Sea World first acquired the animal. He knew Shamu was conditioned to being ridden only by persons wearing wetsuits, and that Shamu had in the past attacked persons who attempted to ride her in an ordinary bathing suit: first a Catalina swimsuit model and then Jim Richards, one of the trainers at Sea World. In addition, Burgess had read training records which showed Shamu had been behaving erratically since early March 1971. This information he did not disclose to plaintiff. Justia US Law, November 19, 1976
# 1971 Miami Seaquarium, USA Hugo Hugo tosses his trainers around, refusing to let them out of the water. Redlands Daily Facts, July 7, 1971; Delaware County Daily Times, January 21, 1971.
# 1971 Miami Seaquarium, USA Hugo Administrative director Anthony G. Toran declared that working with young male Hugo has become too risky after Hugo had "made what appeared to be direct efforts to harm the human performers". Hugo had recently closed his teeth on a raincoat worn by a trainer. St. Petersburg Times, July 24, 1971. Rome News-Tribune, July 25, 1971.
# 1971/04/20 Sea World California, USA Shamu PR Secretary Annette Eckis, wearing a bikini, slid off the back of an orca she was riding for a publicity stunt. 5-year-old female Shamu seized her leg and swam around the tank refusing to release the screaming woman until familiar divers entered the pool. Eckis suffered lacerations and puncture wounds. Justia US Law, November 19, 1976; Edward R. Riciuti, Killers of the Sea, New York, Walker & Co., 1973, pp. 229-231; Mike Lee, SeaWorld San Diego suspends Shamu show, San Diego Union-Tribune, February 24, 2010;Video.
# 1971/06/08 Flamingo Park, England Cuddles Young male Cuddles became so increasingly aggressive, having a hold of at least two trainers, that keepers had to clean the pool from the protection of a shark cage. Cuddles also dragged keeper Don Robinson into the pool when he was at Dudley Zoo but that was possibly a PR stunt. Florence Morning News, June 13, 1971;Edward R. Riciuti, Killers of the Sea, New York, Walker & Co., 1973, pp. 227-228; Reading Eagle, August 15, 1971; Doug Cartlidge, personal communication, March 2010.
# 1972 Seven Seas Texas, USA Nootka Trainer Larry Smith got bitten in the head. Grand Prairie Daily News, August 11, 1972.
# 1972 Seven Seas Texas, USA Nootka Trainer Bob Peek suffered a laceration over the eye. Grand Prairie Daily News, August 11, 1972.
# January 1973 Dudley Zoo, England Cuddles Young male Cuddles "misgauged its daily kiss for trainer Roy Lock. The whale put too much feeling into the gesture. Lock had to be taken to the hospital with a broken nose." Casa Grande Dispatch, January 24, 1973.
# 1974 Windsor Safari Park, England Winston 4-year-old male Winston, then known as Ramu, attacked trainer Doug Cartlidge. There was on official report which was sent to SeaWorld and all other facilities holding orca detailing the attack. SeaWorld have video of Ramu coming out of the water and trying to pull Doug Cartlidge from the training platform. It was part of the video showing all the hand signals before he went over there.
Winston also nearly had HRH Prince of Wales when he was swimming with him...but staff saw the "red eye" and got the prince out just in time. He also had a model and punctured skin on her leg...she sued but was paid off...
Doug Cartlidge, personal communication, March 2010; The Eagle, Bryan, Texas, March 15, 1976.
# late 1970's Marineland Antibes, France Kim Young male Kim took a trainer in his mouth and held him at the bottom of the pool. Finally releasing him, he allowed the trainer to exit safely. Story on internet sites but no original source known.
# 1978/05/02 Marineland of the Pacific, USA Orky 2 Trainer Jill Stratton, 27, was nearly drowned when 10-year-old male Orky 2 suddenly pinned her to the bottom of the tank and held her underwater for four minutes. Cathleen Decker, Trainer Leaves Hospital, Isn't Angry with Whale, Los Angeles Times, May 1978.
# 1978/05/22 Sea World California, USA Winston 8-year-old male Winston attacked trainer Greg Williams, who was treated at a hospital for several small puncture wounds. Winston took the trainer's legs in his mouth during a training session. The Chillicoth Constitution Tribune, May 26, 1978.
# summer of 1978 Vancouver Aquarium, Canada Skana "When I was narrating a Killer Whale show with Skana at the Vancouver Aquarium in summer 1978, Skana closed her jaws on the trainer's head during a part of the show called the Kiss. Skana held his head in her mouth for a few seconds and then released her jaws. The trainer left the show immediately, blood streaming from his forehead. Skana was sending a message; she was in control. The Kiss was never done again." Dr. Sandra Scott, personal communication, October 2013; Lethbridge Herald, October 19, 1978.
1980s
# 1980's Nanki Shirahama Adventure World, Japan Benkei Male Benkei pinched his trainer's arm. Story on internet sites but no original source known.
# 1980s SeaWorld Florida, USA Kotar Veteran animal trainer Jim Horton states that "Kotar was a really aggressive whale. He hated animal care. He would lunge at us if we got too close to the side of the pool. It's like he knew when the animal care guys came down to Shamu Stadium." Outside Online, August 19, 2014.
# 1983/06/11 SeaWorld California, USA Kandu 5 6-year-old female Kandu 5 "took a trainer in her mouth and momentarily refused to let go." The San Bernadino County Sun, July 28, 1983.
# 1983/07 SeaWorld California, USA Kandu 5, Kenau 6-year-old female Kandu 5 and 7-year-old female Kenau disrupted shows in July 1983 by pushing trainers "relentlessly from one end of the tank to the other." SeaWorld spokewoman Jackie O'Conner said the activity is "the kind of thing we occasionally see in the spring." The San Bernadino County Sun, July 28, 1983.
# 1984 Hafnarfjordur Aquarium, Iceland Tilikum 3-year-old male Tilikum attacked his trainer when he was trying to get him to move from between pools at the Sćdýrasafninu sea animal park, biting a good bit out of his wetsuit and dragging him down. Death at Sea World, November 26, 2013.
# 1984/02/23 Sea World California, USA Kandu 5 7-year-old female Kandu 5 took trainer Joanne Hay in her mouth and pinned her against a wall during a performance. Mike Lee, SeaWorld San Diego suspends Shamu show, San Diego Union-Tribune, February 24, 2010.
# 1984/08/12 Sea World California, USA unknown Two killer whales grabbed the legs of trainer Bud Krames and pinned him against a glass retaining wall during a performance. Krames suffers bruises. Mike Lee, SeaWorld San Diego suspends Shamu show, San Diego Union-Tribune, February 24, 2010.
# 1984/11/02 Sea World California, USA Kandu 5 7-year-old female Kandu 5 briefly grabbed the legs of trainer Georgia Jones during a Shamu show but released the trainer unhurt. The 4,500-pound killer whale took Jones’ legs in her mouth, but didn’t bite down. Mike Lee, SeaWorld San Diego suspends Shamu show, San Diego Union-Tribune, February 24, 2010.
# 1986 Marineland Ontario, Canada Kandu 7 There have been reports of trainers being held underwater by the mammals. In 1986, one trainer was taken to the hospital when he fell off young male Kandu 7 and was dragged by the leg around the pool during a stunt. Enzo di Matto, Mahem in Marineland, NOW Magazine, October 10-16, 1996, Vol. 16 No. 6.;Marineland: In Depth.
# 1986 Marineland Ontario, Canada Nootka 5 4-year-old female Nootka 5 whacked one trainer in the head with his pectoral during a trick. According to a former trainer, the whale often leapt out of the water to strike trainers by the pool in the chest. Enzo di Matto, Mahem in Marineland, NOW Magazine, October 10-16, 1996, Vol. 16 No. 6.
# 1986/11/16 Sea World California, USA Kandu 5 9-year-old female Kandu 5 pressed her snout against trainer Mark Beeler and held him against a wall for a few seconds during a performance before several hundred spectators. Dayna Lynn Fried & John Wilkens, Kandu bled to death, San Diego Union-Tribune, August 23, 1989; Mike Lee, SeaWorld San Diego suspends Shamu show, San Diego Union-Tribune, February 24, 2010.
# 1987 Sea World California, USA unknown Numerous San Diego newspapers reported on a "white paper" disclosing at least 14 trainer injuries of various severity while working with orcas within a five-month period in 1987. Only a few of the incidents have been described in the media. Janny Scott, Waves of trouble at Sea World, Los Angeles Times, December 20, 1987, p. 1.;Ukiah Daily Journal, December 9, 1987.
# 1987/02 Sea World Florida, USA Kotar? In February of 1987 an orca (Kotar?) who had a diver sitting on it's nose suddenly opened it's mouth, clamped on to her thigh and disappeared under the water. It seemed like an eternity waiting for that whale to surface. All the trainers ran to the stage and were slapping the water. When it did surface it tossed it's head sideways and flung the young lady onto the stage. She was clearly injured, wet suit torn and bleeding. She had to be assisted off the stage. eyewitness Paula Desfosses, personal communication.
# 1987/03/04 Sea World California, USA Kandu 5, Kenau A six-ton orca suddenly grabbed trainer Jonathan Smith, 21, in its teeth, dove to the bottom of the tank, then carried him bleeding to the surface and spat him out. Smith gallantly waved to the crowd - which he attributed to his training as a Sea World performer - when a second orca slammed into him. He continued to pretend he was unhurt as the whales repeatedly dragged him 32 ft to the bottom of the pool. Smith was cut all around his torso, had a ruptured kidney and a six-inch laceration of his liver, yet he managed to escape and get out of the pool. Later reports indicate that the whales involved had been 10-year-old female Kenau and 9-year-old female Kandu 5. Erich Hoyt, The Performing Orca, WDCS, 1992, p. 32; Video.
# 1987/06/15 Sea World California, USA Kandu 5 Trainer Joanne Webber, 29, suffered a fractured neck when 9-year-old female Kandu 5 landed on top of her and pushed her to the bottom of the pool during a practice session. Webber had five years experience working with orcas. Ex-trainer suing Sea World for neck injury, San Diego Union-Tribune, June 15, 1988, p. B-3.
# 1987/09/28 Sea World California, USA unknown Trainer Mark McHugh was bitten on the hand while feeding an orca between shows. Killer whale injures trainer, Daily Breeze, October 1, 1987.
# 1987/09/30 Sea World California, USA unknown While working with one orca during a performance trainer Chris Barlow, 24, was being rammed in the stomach by another orca. Barlow was hospitalized with minor injuries. Killer whale injures trainer, Daily Breeze, October 1, 1987; Mike Lee, SeaWorld San Diego suspends Shamu show, San Diego Union-Tribune, February 24, 2010.
# 1987/11/21 Sea World California, USA Orky 2 Trainer John Sillick, 26, suffered fractured vertebrae (T1 to T12), a fractured femur, and a fractured pelvis after 19-year-old male Orky 2 breached on top of him while riding on another orca during a performance. Sillick had less than two years experience working with orcas. Robert Reinhold, At Sea World, stress tests whale and man, New York Times, April 4, 1988, p. A-1; Ukiah Daily Journal, December 3, 1987; Video.
# end of 1988 Kamogawa Sea World, Japan unknown In May 1991, one of the trainers that swam with the orcas, told after a show that he had been pinned to the bottom of the pool by an orca and that it happened all the time. Peter Hamilton, Lifeforce Foundation, personal communication May 1991.
# 1989/04/01 Sealand of the Pacific, Canada Nootka 4 Trainer Henriette Huber fell into the whale pool after 6-year-old female Nootka 4 closed her mouth on her hand while scratching Nootka's tongue. Several stitches were required to close the puncture wound. Barbara McLintock, Whale bit me - ex trainer, The Province, May 3, 1991.
# 1989/04/08 Sea World Texas, USA Kasatka 12-year-old female Kasatka mouthed a trainer's leg. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1989/09/30 Sea World Texas, USA Kasatka 12-year-old female Kasatka mouthed a trainer's feet. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1989/10/29 Sea World Florida, USA Katina 13-year-old female Katina mouthed a trainer's waist. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1989 Sealand of the Pacific, Canada Nootka 4 6-year-old female Nootka 4 had grabbed a tourist's camera that was lowered to water level. Head trainer Steve Huxter grabbed the camera strap and was pulled into the pool. The orca had hold of his leg while he was pulled out by hand by fellow trainer Eric Walters. Dirk Meissner, Safety worries led to Sealand resignations, Times Colonist, February 22, 1991, p. A-1.
1990s
# 1990s Reino Aventura, Mexico Keiko Subadult male Keiko snapped at the park’s veterinarian. Take Part, September 24, 2013.
# 1990s Reino Aventura, Mexico Keiko Subadult male Keiko took a swipe at the park’s owner. Take Part, September 24, 2013.
# 1990/04/21 Sea World California, USA Orkid 1-year-old female Orkid bumped a trainer's head. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1990/07/06 Sea World California, USA Kasatka 14-year-old female Kasatka mouthed a trainer's thigh. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1990/07/28 Sea World California, USA Corky 2 24-year-old female Corky 2 pushed the mid-section of a trainer. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision September 2010.
# 1991/02/20 Sealand of the Pacific, Canada Haida 2, Nootka 4, Tilikum Trainer Keltie Byrne, 20, slipped into the whale pool and was carried into the middle by 11-year-old female Haida 2, and repeatedly submerged as the other two orcas, 11-year-old female Nootka 4 and 10-year-old male Tilikum, joined in. After futile attempts of rescue, Byrne drowned. Sea World Animal Profiles; Dirk Meissner, Whales pull trainer to death, Times Colonist, February 21, 1991, p. A-1.
# 1991/07/31 Sea World California, USA Kasatka 14-year-old female Kasatka grabbed a trainer's foot (termed "jaw popped on foot" in Injury Report) and fluked a trainer's back. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1992/04/02 Sea World Florida, USA Katina 15-year-old female Katina bumped a trainer's hip. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1992/10/11 Sea World California, USA Kasatka 14-year-old female Kasatka mouthed a trainer's foot. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1992 Sea World Ohio, USA Kayla 3-year-old female Kayla pushed a trainer back toward pool during training. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1993/04/25 Sea World California, USA Kasatka 16-year-old female Kasatka tried to bite a trainer (not Kenneth Peters, btw), mouthed feet and legs. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010; Pauline Repard, Killer whale bites trainer, takes him to tank bottom, San Diego Union-Tribune, November 30, 2006.
# 1993/07/15 Sea World California, USA Kasatka 16-year-old female Kasatka mouthed a trainer's feet and legs, grabbed a knee and dunked the trainer, grabbed a foot and dunked the trainer. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1993/08/03 Sea World Florida, USA Katina 17-year-old female Katina bumped a trainer's body. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1994/02/24 Sea World Florida, USA Katina 18-year-old female Katina bumped a trainer's hand. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1994/06/30 Sea World California, USA Corky 2 28-year-old female Corky 2 pushed a trainer. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision September 2010.
# 1994/08/18 Sea World Florida, USA Nootka 4 15-year-old female Nootka 4 snapped at trainers who try to retriev her stillborn calf. Outside Online, August 19, 2014.
# 1994/10/23 Sea World California, USA Orkid 6-year-old female Orkid bumped a trainer's thigh. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1994/11/16 Sea World Florida, USA Taku 1-year-old male Taku bumped a trainer. Tim Zimmermann, April 15, 2013.
# 1995/02/09 Sea World Florida, USA Katina 19-year-old female Katina pushed a trainer. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1995/07/30 Sea World California, USA Takara 4-year-old female Takara swam over a surfaced trainer. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1996/01/25 Sea World California, USA Orkid 7-year-old female Orkid opened her mouth at a trainer and mouthed a trainer's thigh. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1996/02/09 Sea World California, USA Orkid 7-year-old female Orkid bumped a trainer's thigh, bumped a trainer's body and fluked a trainer. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1996/07/03 Sea World California, USA Orkid 7-year-old female Orkid pushed a trainer. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1996/07/20 Sea World Texas, USA Kayla 7-year-old female Kayla split to slide out during the show after a non-bridged behaviour. At that time, a guest tried to touch her and she thrashed her head from side to side with her mouth open. No injury occurred. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1996/11/22 Sea World California, USA Orkid 8-year-old female Orkid head popped a trainer's arm. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1997/10/03 Sea World California, USA Ulises 20-year-old male Ulises came out at a trainer. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1997/11/15 Sea World California, USA Orkid 9-year-old female Orkid bumped a trainer's hip. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1998/06/23 Sea World California, USA Orkid 9-year-old female Orkid pushed a kayak with a trainer around. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 1998/07/16 Sea World California, USA Orkid 9-year-old female Orkid was performing a hydro-hop behaviour during a night show. The trainer accidentally hit her tail flukes with his hand upon his re-entry and she responded by hitting him in the stomach with her head. She responded to a stage call calmly. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# September 1998 Sea World Florida, USA Keto 3-year-old male Keto pushed his trainer around the pool, open-mouthed. One Green Planet
# 1999/03/09 Sea World California, USA Takara 7-year-old female Takara came out at a trainer. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# March 1999 Sea World California, USA Keto Just days after his transfer from Florida, 3-year-old male Keto swam into his trainer open-mouthed. One Green Planet
# 1999/06/12 Sea World California, USA Kasatka After her calf Takara split to a back pool during a show, 23-year-old Kasatka, the dominant female in the park, began to fast swim around the perimeter, grabbed trainer Kenneth Peters' leg and attempted to throw him out of the pool at SeaWorld San Diego. Peters was pulled out of the pool by another trainer. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010; Killer whales: Other Sea World attacks, Orlando Sentinel, February 27, 2010.
# 1999/07/05 Sea World Florida, USA Tilikum A dead man's naked body was found at SeaWorld Florida in Orlando, scratched, bruised and draped over 18-year-old male Tilikum, the largest killer whale in captivity. The 27-year-old, later identified as a man with a history of mental illness, apparently made his way past security at SeaWorld, remaining in the park after it had closed. Wearing only his underwear, the man either jumped, fell or was pulled into Tilikum's huge tank. A medical examiner concluded the man suffered hypothermia and drowned. Sea World Animal Profiles; Orlando Sentinel, July 6, 1999.
# 1999/08/16 Sea World Texas, USA Kayla 10-year-old female Kayla became aggressive with a trainer during a waterwork sequence in the show after several behaviours without reinforcement, in combination with social problems between Kayla and adult female Winnie Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# December 1999 Sea World California, USA Keto 4-year-old male Keto snapped at his trainer during a training session. One Green Planet
# 1990s/2000s Sea World Florida, USA Taima Young female Taima had "a history of aggression in her years of waterwork interactions", had shown "aggression towards trainers" and her "unpredictable nature" had "postponed waterwork interactions indefinitely and limited her to dry interactions only". Sea World Animal Profiles, January 2010.
# 1990s/2000s Sea World California, USA Splash Young male Splash opened his mouth on a trainer's leg. The Dodo, May 2, 2014.
2000s
# 2000s Sea World California, USA Corky 2 34-year-old female Corky 2 prevents a trainer from exiting the water by rostrum "blocking". Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision September 2010.
# 2000s Sea World Florida, USA Ikaika Young male Ikaika has a history of aggression, often of a sexual nature, which began with an attempt to breed a young calf at SeaWorld shortly before his transfer to Canada. SeaWorld's veterinarians then sedated Ikaika twice daily with Valium to "try to mellow him out." "We've already seen some of the precursors (of a human attack) up there, meaning he's grabbed boots, he's grabbed targets, he's grabbed an arm before," Chuck Tompkins, a senior executive at SeaWorld and head animal trainer, said in an affidavit. Those are signs Ikaika is testing his environment and seeing what he can do, Tompkins told the court. "And if you're not aware of all the little things that killer whales do, you can get somebody really, really hurt," Tompkins said in his affidavit. "I've got grave concerns on the safety of the staff and inevitably the safety of the animal because of the lack of change." Liam Casey, Custody of killer whale plays out in court, Toronto Star, July 16, 2011.
# early 2000's Sea World Florida, USA Tuar While a trainer was retrieving an article from the back of the mouth, young male Tuar clamped down on the trainer's arm and held tight for several moments. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# early 2000's Sea World Florida, USA Tuar Young male Tuar was involved in one swim over a surfaced trainer during waterwork with another young male, Tekoa. He did respond to a recall after two attempts. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# mid 2000's Sea World Texas, USA Tuar Since his move to Texas in April 2004, young male Tuar has opened his mouth towards trainers on a few occasions while in the water with him. This behaviour seems to present itself when sequences are predictable, and has been during solo waterwork only. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# mid 2000's Port of Nagoya Aquarium, Japan Ku Female Ku lunges at trainer. Video.
# 2001 Kamogawa Sea World, Japan Bingo 19-year-old male Bingo pushed his trainer through and under water during a show. Story on internet sites but no original source known.
# 2001/08/01 Nanki Shirahama Adventure World, Japan Ran, Goro 13-year-old female Ran and 17-year-old male Goro broke a trainer's leg during a show. Story on internet sites but no original source known.
# 2002 Sea World California, USA Ulises 25-year-old male Ulises was doing a waterwork session in "A" pool. His trainer was on his back and wanted him to move closer to the acrylic by giving him the cue to "steer" him in a directional way. Ulises did not know this behaviour. Instead, he took this as a finger roll, the trainer fell off and Ulises began to go on a descent. He ignored the trainer on the porch trying to receive him and turned around to go back towards his trainer in the water. He turned ventral and scooped her up, and then started to become erect. She was able to get off at the porch and reinforce him. He was calm. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 2002/07/31 Sea World California, USA Orkid 13-year-old female Orkid was given the opportunity to rehearse pulling a trainer into the water by her bootie (sic!). After placing a foot in Orkid's mouth several times Orkid pulled the trainer in the water and pulled the bootie off. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 2002/08/07 Sea World California, USA Splash, Orkid A female SeaWorld trainer was hospitalized and recovering from a broken arm after an incident at Shamu Stadium on Wednesday. The 28-year-old Tamaree was doing poolside training with 12-year-old male Splash and 13-year-old female Orkid. "She was playing with the whales, talking to them," said SeaWorld spokeswoman Darla Davis. "The next thing we know, as it appears from the video, she was pulled into the water." The park has its own video from a pool camera, and it also reviewed a video taken by a visitor who was recording his children nearby. Park officials said the trainer swam out of the water on her own. She was taken to a local hospital, where a pin was put in her arm. Doctors also are monitoring scrapes for possible infection. Shanna McCord, San Diego Union-Tribune, August 8, 2002.
# August 2002 Sea World Texas, USA Keto 7-year-old male Keto swam into his trainer open-mouthed. One Green Planet
# 2003 Sea World Texas, USA Kayla 14-year-old female Kayla had refused multiple separations prior to the show opening. She proceeded to perform abnormally high bows on a fast swim cue, came back and received an LRS(* see below), performed another set of bows on the fast swim. She was then asked for a line up, tactile was applied and she lined up with a slight lean. As the trainer backed over the wall, she then came out of the line up towards him with her mouth open. No contact was made. She then performed a head bobbing behaviour and split to the front pool. After several minutes staff attempted control and they were able to separate her to the back pool to continue the show. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 2003/08/01 Sea World Texas, USA Kyuquot During a portion of the show, 16-year-old male Kyuquot refused to let a trainer exit the pool. He did not become aggressive, but refused callback tones and slaps, and would not allow the trainer to leave the pool. The trainer was able to get close enough to the glass to pull himself out very quickly, and Kyuquot then proceeded to fast swim around the pool, followed by sliding out at stage. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# October 2003 Sea World Texas, USA Kayla After the opening segment of a show, 15-year-old female Kayla refused to separate into the back pool for the ballet. She had been holding under control in the back during the "trainer intro", began dipping her head under the surface, and then became "big-eyed". It was decided then not to use her for waterwork during that show. She then refused separations to the back pool in a variety of contexts. During attempts to separate any of the animals for the show, she fluke splashed a trainer, and later motioned her head (mouth open) towards a trainer's hand. No injury occurred. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 2004/05/17 Sea World California, USA Orkid 15-year-old female Orkid bumped a trainer's thigh. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 2004/07/27 Sea World Texas, USA Kyuquot 12-year-old male Kyuquot repeatedly slammed trainer Steve Aibel underwater during a show. Aibel, who was uninjured, had trained Kyuquot for 10 years. Kyuquot refused a rocket hop during a show, then repeated it well. However, Kyuquot then refused to allow the trainer to exit the pool. He then proceeded to swim over the trainer, blocking any exit from the pool for two to three minutes. He refused several callback attempts, including tones, hand slaps, and attempts at control by trainers in various positions around the pool. Once the trainer was close to the middle of the pool, Kyuquot then calmed down, finally drifting close to the stage, where the trainer was able to quickly exit. During the whole incident, Kyuquot never once opened his mouth on the trainer. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010; SeaWorld San Antonio Killer Whale Trainer Has Close Cal, KSAT San Antonio, July 27, 2004; Video.
# 2004/08/22 Sea World California, USA Ulises 27-year-old male Ulises was doing a Scuba session with his trainer in "A" pool (a spotter Scuba diver was also at the bottom), when he looped around, became erect, and then swam on top of his trainer. He ignored a hand slap and tone before responding to a second tone. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# Summer 2004 Sea World Texas, USA Kayla During a night show, 15-year-old female Kayla had performed the first two songs of the show acceptably, and then did two ventral squirt bow cues. She responded well to both LRS (* see below) that occurred, and then received a primary reinforcement for the second LRS. She was then asked for a fluke splash to the back, and then asked to separate to the back pool. During the separation attempt, she lunged at her trainer, although no contact occurred. After several minutes, she separated into the back pool, allowing the show to continue. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 2004/10/18 Sea World California, USA Kasatka A trainer was attempting to Scuba dive in "E" pool with 28-year-old female Kasatka and her 3-year-old male calf Nakai. The trainer did not have approval to swim with fins. He may have brushed her with his fins and she became aggressive, mouthing fins and Scuba gear. She eventually responded to a hand slap stage call. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 2005/04/01 Sea World Florida, USA Taku A SeaWorld Orlando trainer is expected to return to work soon after being injured by an "overly excited" killer whale, a theme-park spokeswoman said Sunday. 11-year-old male Taku, one of nine at the park that go by the stage name Shamu, swam rapidly past the trainer and circled back, bumping him repeatedly during the Shamu Adventure show at 12:30 p.m. Friday, spokeswoman Becca Bides said. "The trainer maintained control of the animal," Bides said, and the show continued uninterrupted. The trainer, supervisor Sam Davis, was taken to Sand Lake Hospital for unspecified minor injuries and released the same day, she said.
Additional eyewitness account: "The trainer and Taku were about to slide on the slide out at the end of the show when Taku completly stopped and started "bumping" the trainer. The trainer was male and he finally swam out of the tank. I knew something was wrong because non of the whale except Kalina wanted to perform. Then they finally got Taku out to splash people at the end of the show, when this incident took place."
Christopher Sherman, Killer whale jolts trainer, Orlando Sentinel, April 4, 2005.
# 2005/04/14 Sea World California, USA Orkid During a two whale - one trainer interaction, 16-year-old female Orkid initially responded to a stage call but quickly reached back and pulled a trainer by her ankle to the bottom of "A" pool. Orkid responded to the call back tone. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 2005/05/06 Sea World California, USA Orkid 16-year-old female Orkid grabbed a trainer's foot and dunked the trainer. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 2006 Sea World California, USA Corky 2 After a good playtime session including waterwork in "A" pool, while sitting at stage with a few trainers next to her, 40-year-old female Corky 2 began to mouth a trainer's ponytail. She corrected quickly once asked by a trainer on stage to sit "heads up". Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision September 2010.
# October 2006 Sea World Texas, USA Kayla After performing a sequence in the show, 17-year-old female Kayla was in the stage slide out with her trainer receiving secondary reinforcement. As the trainer attempted to point her back in the water, Kayla lunged at thim with her mouth open, contacting him and throwing him several feet. She immediately came back to control, separated to the back pool perfectly, and was very good behaviourally the rest of the day. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# November 2006 Sea World Texas, USA Kayla After performing a med pool separation well, 17-year-old female Kayla was receiving various secondary reinforcers while the gate closed when she pulled away from the wall. She was asked to come back to control, which she did. After a whistle bridge, the trainer went to feed her. Kayla lunged at her, knocking a bucket off the wall. No injury occurred. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 2006/11/15 Sea World California, USA Orkid A SeaWorld trainer was injured, when 18-year-old female Orkid grabbed senior trainer Brian Rokeach by the leg, pulled him to the bottom of the pool and held him under water for about 26 seconds. Orkid released Rokeach after Peters repeatedly slapped the water, the signal for the animals to return to the front of the Shamu Stadium stage. Rokeach suffered a torn ankle ligament but was not hospitalized. In response to the incident, SeaWorld increased to five the number of trainers who must be available during live performances and other times when trainers are in the water with the whales. Sea World Animal Profiles; Terry Rodgers, Marine park cited after whale attack, San Diego Union-Tribune, March 4, 2007; Video.
# 2006/11/29 Sea World California, USA Kasatka 30-year-old female Kasatka attacked Kenneth Peters, SeaWorld San Diego's most experienced trainer, during a show at Shamu Stadium. Kasatka grabbed the trainer's foot and dove to the bottom of the 36-foot tank. They surfaced less than a minute later, but she ignored other trainers' signals to draw her to the side. The orca dove a second time with the trainer for about a minute. Peters only escaped after other trainers worked a large safety net between the two. He suffered puncture wounds and a broken left foot. That's the second reported attack by Kasatka on Peters. Sea World Animal Profiles; Pauline Repard, Killer whale bites trainer, takes him to tank bottom, San Diego Union-Tribune, November 30, 2006;Killer whale attacks Sea World trainer, CNN, November 30, 2006; Tony Perry, Killer whales endanger park staff, state says, Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2007; OHAS report; 10 News video; Death at SeaWorld.
# 2007/04/06 Sea World Texas, USA Tuar 7-year-old male Tuar opened and closed his mouth around a trainer's leg after a dive in prior to the ballet sequence of the show. No injury occurred. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 2007/04/10 Sea World California, USA Orkid 18-year-old female Orkid was doing an Artificial Insemination session. She had been a bit vocal but was asked for the roll over behaviour for an ultrasound. The trainer then asked Orkid to perform a slide-out behaviour. She refused this behaviour and then swiped her head making contact with the trainer which resulted in the trainer falling over the wall. She did perform the slide-out behaviour after this. The 35-year-old trainer was taken to a hospital for examination and was found to have suffered minor injuries after the bump from the 5,900-pound whale. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010; KFMB-CBS, San Diego, April 11, 2007.
# 2007/10/06 Loro Parque Tenerife, Spain Tekoa A trainer at the Loro Parque theme park on Tenerife is in hospital after she was injured this weekend during a training session with 6-year-old male Tekoa at the centre in Puerto de la Cruz. The Canarias 7 newspaper says the incident happened at the pre-show warm up on Saturday, when the orca crashed into the trainer, injuring her right lung and breaking her forearm in two places. She was rescued by two colleagues after the marine mammal dragged her down to the bottom of the pool. The trainer is now said to be stable after surgery on Saturday. Later it becomes know that the injured trainer is 29-year-old biologist Claudia Vollhardt from Germany, who has worked at the park since 2003. OME News write that it was a male orca that hit the trainer and dragged her down after the impact. Then that same animal grabbed the trainer by the arm and brought her back up to the surface. Trainer attacked by killer whale at Loro Parque theme park on Tenerife, Typically Spanish, October 7, 2007.
# January 2008 Sea World Florida, USA Takara 16-year-old female Takara hit a trainer with her tail fluke, who was smacked off the slide-out. Video.
# 2008/03/18 Sea World California, USA Kasatka 32-year-old female Kasatka came out at a trainer. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# July 2008 Marineland Antibes, France Valentin Not further detailed incident between 12-year-old male Valentin and trainer Nico, not officially reported. Story on internet sites but no original source known.
# 2008/09/09 Marineland Antibes, France Freya 27-year-old female Freya pushed a trainer through and under water (not as part of the training or show). Video.
# 2008/09/10 Sea World California, USA Kasatka 32-year-old female Kasatka came out at a trainer. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# Spring 2009 Loro Parque Tenerife, Spain Skyla In the spring of 2009, during a public show, 5-year-old female Skyla started pushing her trainer around the pool and up against the pool wall. Shortly thereafter, special protocols (limits on water work and a mandate that only senior trainers work with her) that had been standard practice for Tekoa after the incident in 2007 were enacted for Skyla as well. Tim Zimmermann, Blood in the Water, Outside Magazine, July 18, 2011.
# 2009/07/17 Marineland Antibes, France Wikie 8-year-old female Wikie pushed a trainer through and under water (not as part of the training or show). Eyewitness account on internet site.
# September 2009 Loro Parque Tenerife, Spain Keto Not further detailed incident between 14-year-old male Keto and trainer Brian Rokeach, noted by fellow trainer Alexis Martinez. Tim Zimmermann, Blood in the Water, Outside Magazine, July 18, 2011.
# 2009/12/24 Loro Parque Tenerife, Spain Keto A Loro Parque trainer has been killed by one of the whales during a training session. The trainer was 29-year-old Alexis Martínez, and the accident occurred at 10.30 am this morning during the first training session for the Christmas Special planned for the New Year. The other 7 trainers were also present in the training session. As far as can be determined right now, Alexis was hit by 14-year-old male killer whale Keto, and his death was caused by drowning because he was under the water unconscious for several minutes before he could be rescued. The autopsy report on Martínez was telling and states bluntly that his was a "violent death." It describes multiple cuts and bruises, the collapse of both lungs, fractures of the ribs and sternum, a lacerated liver, severely damaged vital organs, and puncture marks "consistent with the teeth of an orca." It concludes that the immediate cause of death was fluid in the lungs (i.e., drowning) but that the fundamental cause was "mechanical asphyxiation due to compression and crushing of the thoracic abdomen with injuries to the vital organs." In other words, at some point Keto probably slammed into Martínez with such force that he caved in his chest. Trainer dies in accident at Killer Whale park in Tenerife, Typically Spanish, December 24, 2009;Tim Zimmermann, Blood in the Water, Outside Magazine, July 18, 2011.
2010s
# 2010 Sea World California, USA Orkid 21-year-old female Orkid has been sliding out in various slide-out areas on her free time which has resulted in possibly dangerous scenarios for guests at the Dine with Shamu area. Changes are (were?) being made to the areas to help decrease the frequency of this behaviour in areas where person might be injured. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010.
# 2010/02/24 Sea World Florida, USA Tilikum A veteran animal trainer was killed Wednesday at SeaWorld Florida when one of the show's killer whales dragged her underwater. SeaWorld said that 29-year-old male Tilikum pulled Dawn Brancheau, 40, into the orca's tank about 2pm. Witnesses told that the animal suddenly grabbed Brancheau by the upper arm, tossed her around in his mouth and pulled her beneath the water as dozens of tourists looked on in horror. The coroner catalogued a fractured neck, a broken jaw, and a dislocated elbow and knee. Sea World Animal Profiles, Revision June 2010; Jason Garcia and Susan Jacobsen, Animal trainer killed at Sea World, Los Angeles Times, February 25, 2010;Tim Zimmermann, The Killer in the Pool, Outside Magazine, July 30, 2010.
# July 2012 Six Flags Vallejo, USA Shouka 9-year-old female Shouka repeatedly lunged at a trainer. Without Me There Is No You (Blog incl. video).
# December 2012 Miami Seaquarium, USA Lolita 46-year-old female Lolita snaps at visitor. Video.

Here's a statistical analysis regarding the killer whales which were involved in these incidents. It is telling that there are only very few incidents where the killer whale involved was still with its mother.

LRS:
To eliminate undesired behavior, SeaWorld trainers have developed a training technique called the Least Reinforcing Scenario (LRS). The LRS follows an undesired behavior. If a trainer requests a particular behavior and the animal responds with inappropriate behavior, the trainer must be careful not to reinforce the response. The trainer delivers an LRS - they stand still and do nothing. This way, they are least likely to deliver a reinforcer.
(in Animal Training at SeaWorld & Busch Gardens, Application of Philosophy: Training Techniques)

Marine mammal veterinarian Jay Sweeney:
"Aggression expressed by killer whales toward their trainers is a matter of grave concern. Show situations involving water behaviors with trainers and orcas have become popular in recent years. Aggressive manifestations toward trainers have included bumping, biting, grabbing, dunking, and holding trainers on the bottom of pools preventing their escape. Several situations have resulted in potentially life-threatening incidents. In a few such cases, we can attribute this behavior to disease or to the presence of frustrating or confusing situations, but in other cases, there have been no clear casual factors."
(in Marine Mammal Behavioral Diagnostics, L. Dierauf (Ed.). 1990. Handbook of Marine Mammal Medicine, pp. 53-72.)

OSHA report on the Kasatka incident in November 2006:
"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. The trainers recognize this risk and train not for if an attack will happen but when."
(in Occupational Safety and Health Administration report, March 2, 2007)

SeaWorld response to OSHA report:
"'We have proven over 40 years that we are very safe,' said Mike Scarpuzzi, vice president of zoological operations at SeaWorld San Diego and a former whale trainer."
(in Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2007; under pressure from SeaWorld the OSHA report was rewritten and the harsh critique all but eliminated)

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