Autopsy: Trainer Likely Died From Drowning, Trauma

Officials say trainers had to coax an aggressive whale into a smaller pool and use a platform to lift it out of the water before they could free a colleague from its jaws.

The Orange County Medical Examiner says 40-year-old trainer Dawn Brancheau probably died from multiple traumatic injuries and drowning after the killer whale pulled her into a pool at SeaWorld Orlando on Wednesday.

The county sheriff's office says co-workers couldn't immediately help her because the whale was so aggressive after it grabbed her by her pony tail and pulled her in.

The office says an investigation is continuing but there are no signs of foul play and all evidence indicates it was a tragic accident.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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An official says 40-year-old Dawn Brancheau is the trainer killed by a whale at SeaWorld in Orlando.

The law enforcement official with knowledge of the incident spoke on condition of anonymity because he had not been cleared to officially release her identity.

According to a 2006 Orlando Sentinel profile, Brancheau had worked her way into a leadership role at Shamu Stadium after spending more than a decade working with killer whales.

She was inspired by a trip to SeaWorld when she was 9.

Park president Dan Brown would say only that the trainer killed was one of the park's most experienced. She was killed when she slipped or fell into the whale's tank Wednesday afternoon.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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