SeaWorld Fined $75,000 for Whale Trainer's Death

Dawn Brancheau loved whales like they were her own children, her sister told The Associated Press. But the 40-year-old trainer was killed by one of the animals she loved most - Tilikum, a 12,000 pound killer whale. FULL COVERAGE: Sea World Attack Jeff Sasse's Facebook Profile
Jeffrey Sasse
The federal job safety agency fined SeaWorld Orlando $75,000 on Monday for three violations uncovered while investigating the February death of a trainer who was grabbed by a killer whale and dragged underwater.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration categorized the most serious violation as "willful," or showing indifference or intentional disregard for employee safety. That citation, carrying a $70,000 penalty, was for exposing workers to drowning hazards when interacting with killer whales.

The agency proposes not allowing trainers to have any physical contact with the killer whale responsible for trainer Dawn Brancheau's death in February unless protected by a physical barrier.

Video Before Killer Whale Attack
Killer Whale Attack 911 Call
SeaWorld Trainer Died of Drowning, Trauma

It also suggests that trainers not play with other killer whales at the park, either in the water or out of water, unless they are protected by a barrier or deck.

The second citation, deemed serious, was for failing to install a stairway railing system beside the stage in Shamu Stadium. That citation carried a $5,000 penalty.

The third citation was considered "other-than-serious" and was for failing to have weather-protected electrical receptacles at the stadium. That citation didn't have a penalty.

SeaWorld spokesman Fred Jacobs said the park will contest the citation.

"SeaWorld disagrees with the unfounded allegations made by OSHA today," Jacobs said in a statement.

More coverage of the SeaWorld tragedy:

Whale Attack Renews Captive Animal Debate
SeaWorld Defends Serial Killer Whale
SeaWorld: The Show Must Go On