Watch CBSN Live

Drifter Dies In SeaWorld Tank

A man found dead and naked on the back of a killer whale in a tank at SeaWorld, Orlando was a drifter who apparently drowned after picking the wrong place to swim, police said Wednesday.

Police identified the dead man as Daniel Dukes—a man who gave his address as a Hare Krishna Temple in Miami. An autopsy was expected to show he had drowned, as his body was not harmed.

Â"There was no foul play or anything sinister on his part,Â" said Orange County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jim Solomons. Â"He was camped out in the park and just took the opportunity to swim with the whale.Â"

Correspondent Michelle Cimino of CBS Affiliate WKMG in Orlando reports that the 27-year-old man's body was found early Tuesday in 50 degree water, draped over a killer whale named Â"Tillikum,Â"—after the western North American Indian Chinook word for Â"friend.Â"

Investigators said the 14-year-old whale—at 11,000 pounds the largest in captivity—may have played with Dukes' 180-pound body as if it were a toy.

"When was found, he was draped over the back of the whale and the only analogy I can draw is like a fireman would carry a victim out of a burning building," explained Jim Solomon of the Orange County sheriffÂ's office.

"There was no obvious signs of trauma," Solomon said.

Tillikum is not trained to interact with humans and is used in shows to splash water on park guests, said Victor Abbey, SeaWorld executive vice president and general manager.

"He's not an aggressive animal. He's good with the trainers," said executive animal trainer Chuck Thompkins. "He has a good relationship with a lot of the trainers. He understands people. He enjoys working with us. I think he was caught off guard with an unfamiliar object in the pool."

"In the 35-year history of SeaWorld, this has never happened before," Abbey said.

SeaWorld workers have told deputies they saw the man hanging around the whale tanks Monday. Abbey said the man apparently hid in the park and evaded the 24-hour security around the whale tanks. The park closed at 10 p.m.

A killer whale show was canceled Tuesday morning, but shows resumed in the afternoon. Tillikum is now acting normal but not performing in any shows.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said it would investigate SeaWorld's safety precautions.