WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVE: NEAR DEATH AT SEAWORLD
The following video was presented at trial in the case of SeaWorld v US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. Judge Ken Welsch, who ruled largely against the company, called the video “chilling” – More details are provided in DEATH AT SEAWORLD, and a description of the video is excerpted below. To view the unlisted video, please click here.
NOTE: There is no audio on this video.
Peters had been waiting for Kasatka to touch his foot, the beginning of that particular behavior. He was about ten or fifteen feet down. Suddenly, he heard a killer whale vocalizing loudly. Peters described it as a distress vocalization or cry.
He later learned the wailing was from Kalia (Kasatka’s calf) screeching for her mother, presumably, from the other pool.
Kasatka instantly pulled her rostrum away from Peters’ feet. And then she grabbed his ankles, pulling him underwater for several seconds. When he resurfaced, she grabbed him again, this time “rag-dolling” her trainer violently by shaking him back and forth with her powerful neck muscles. Kasatka took him under again, for a minute or more.
Then, slowly and deliberately, as if performing a bizarre underwater pas de deux, the whale began to spiral upward with Peters’ foot in her mouth. She exhaled a cloud of white bubbles from her blowhole.
…When they finally resurfaced, Tucker Petrzelka heard a shout for help. He slapped the water, trying to bring Kasatka back to stage. Matt Fripp grabbed the call-back device and deployed it while John Stewart slammed a metal bucket against the pool’s side. Kasatka was having none of it.
She decided to take Peters to the bottom once again. They could be seen beneath the surface. She still had a foot in her mouth, and she dragged the trainer around, dunking him periodically and ignoring all signals to return to stage…
…Resigned to the belief that Kasatka was going to take him under yet again, he drew in air and waited. It didn’t take long. She grabbed his foot, thrashed him around a little and then dove to the bottom anew.This time, she laid her entire 5,000-pound body on top of the trainer, pinning him to the concrete for a minute or more.
Peters went limp. He felt his breath being forced out. He wondered when, or if, Kasatka was going to let him up…
View the video (obtained through the Freedom of Information Act) and read the rest of the story at the Death at SeaWorld website.