View random article

Killer Whale at Sea World Causes Trainer's Death

A killer whale at Sea World caused his trainer's death. Tilikum, a killer whale, dragged trainer Dawn Brancheau, into his tank and drown her. Branacheau died yesterday. She was 40 years old. Brancheau left behind six siblings and her mother, Marion Loverde.

Brancheau had wanted to work with whales since her first visit to Sea World at age ten. During an interview with the press in 2006, Brancheau described her passion: "I remember walking down the aisle [of Shamu Stadium] and telling my mom, ‘This is what I want to do.' " Brancheau's mother attested that her daughter's ideal job was training whales. Loverde said: "her dream to do it. She loved her job.”

Brancheau studied at the University of South Carolina. She researched animal behavior and psychology. Brancheau's first job training animals was at New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park. She trained dolphins. After two years, Brancheau joined the staff at SeaWorld, a realizing her life long dream to work with whales. Brancheau worked with whales for 16 years. At one point in her career, she offered this information regarding handling whales: "You can't put yourself in the water unless you trust them and they trust you."

Brancheau's death was tragic but she died doing what she loved most.

Featured in Life