Photo: Whale at SeaWorld Today
The first death occurred at Sealand of the Pacific in British Columbia. A trainer drowned while in the tank with Tillikum.
After the whale was sold to SeaWorld Orlando, the body of a naked man was found scratched, bruised and draped over Tillikum in July 1999. Daniel Dukes, 27, reportedly made his way past security at SeaWorld, remaining in the park after it had closed. Wearing only his underwear, Dukes either jumped, fell, or was pulled into the frigid water of Tilikum's tank. In 1999, a park official said of Tillikum, "He's not an aggressive animal. He's good with the trainers. He has a good relationship with a lot of the trainers. He understands people."
According to The Orlando Sentinel, however, a former contractor with SeaWorld said that trainers were not allowed to get in the water with Tillikum because of these incidents.
A witness to today's death, Victoria Biniak, said that "Tilly [Tillikum] took off really fast in the tank and he came back, shot up in the air, grabbed the trainer by the waist and started thrashing [her] around." Emergency personnel were called to the park after 2 p.m. where they found a worker who could not be revived.
MORE ON CRIMESIDER
February 25, 2010 - Dawn Brancheau Pictures: SeaWorld Trainer Loved Whale That Killed Her
February 24, 2010 - Tillikum the Killer Whale Had Violent Past Before Deadly Attack on SeaWorld Trainer
February 24, 2010 - SeaWorld Trainer Killed by Tillikum the Whale