seaworld fights federal findings in trainer's death - outdoor weatherproof enclosure
-Orlando SeaWorld's policy is to rely on coaches to identify when killer whales pose a security threat, leaving a gap that could lead to casualties, Monday, A government lawyer expressed support for the safety citation issued to the theme park after the death of a coach.
The theme park argued at a hearing on Monday that the three quotes were unfounded.
They were issued after coach Dawn Brancheau was dragged underwater by killer whales last year and drowned.
The park was also fined $75,000.
John Black, a lawyer with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said: "The whales are big and powerful . ".
Sea World lawyer Carla gunning told the administrative law judge who tried the case that the resort has a history of saving marine animals and is the leader in marine mammal research.
Ken Welsch, an administrative law judge, said his duty was not to determine whether the whales should be imprisoned or whether the theme park resort was responsible for the accident, but to decide on the merits of the three OSHA citing SeaWorld. About a half-
More than a dozen protesters gathered outside with slogans such as "throwing books at Sea World" and "stopping the imprisonment of killer whales.
Blanche passed away in February.
At 2010, a killer whale named Tilikum grabbed her hair and dragged her violently under the water.
The doctor said she was injured in drowning.
Brancheau's husband attended the hearing and if OSHA chose to show the video and photos taken during the coach's death, he would be accompanied by a lawyer representing the Brancheau family.
Family members consider it a privacy violation to show them.
Last week, a federal judge ruled that if counsel chose to do so, the images might be used by OSHA at the hearing.
The first witness of the government, Kelly Flaherty Clark, director of animal training at SeaWorld, testified that in
She could not find any cases other than Brancheau's death because there was no environment or animal clue to explain the bad behavior of the animal.
Clark said that when the coach learned what to do if they fell into the water with the whales, she never expected Tilikum to drag the coach into the water.
At Blake's inquiry, Clark said the trainers signed a document acknowledging that their own skills were responsible for their safety.
She also admitted that there was a certain risk as a coach.
"The coach is trained in different scenarios," Clark said . ".
"You have to recognize everything in the environment.
It could be behavior.
Probably the weather.
"The first of the three citations from OSHA claimed that SeaWorld had exposed its workers to the danger of drowning and had an opportunity to be hit in the interaction with the killer whale.
In its citation, the federal agency noted that Tilikum was also involved in the death of a coach at an ocean park in BC on 1991.
The agency recommends setting up physical barriers between trainers and killer whales.
The second quote said that SeaWorld failed to install a stair railing system on the stage of the Shamu Stadium, where a killer whale performance "believed" was held ".
The quotation states that there are 10-foot drop.
The third quote states that SeaWorld has failed to install a waterproof enclosure on the outdoor electrical outlet of the Shamu Stadium.