Shamu Kills SeaWorld Trainer in Orlando
Posted on Wed Feb 24, 2010 01:47 PM PDT

shamupic200.jpgLOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (X17online) - A SeaWorld employee was killed this afternoon at Shamu Stadium in Orlando.

In front of a packed audience, witnesses say the whale jumped out of the water during the theme park's show and grabbed the female trainer by the waist.

WKMG, the CBS affiliate in Orlando, spoke to park guest Victoria Biniak, who witnessed the violent attack.

"The whale took off really fast in the tank, and then he came back, shot up in the air, grabbed the trainer by the waist and started thrashing around, and one of her shoes flew off."

We're told sirens were set off, and guests were quickly evacuated.

The Orange County Sheriff's have not released the identity of the victim. X17online spoke to SeaWorld in Orlando and they tell us that the park has remained open.

Shamu draws millions of spectators each year including loads of celebrities. Just last month, we captured Josefin Nordegren taking twin sister Elin's kids to see the famous whale.

A spokesperson for SeaWorld provided this statement to X17online. The trainer has been identified as 40 year-old Dawn Brancheau:

    "It is with great sadness that I report that one of our most experienced animal trainers drowned in an incident with one of our killer whales this afternoon," SeaWorld General Manager Dan Brown said in a statement. "We've initiated an investigation to determine, to the extent possible, what occurred. There are no other details to report at this time."