Video of an killer whale attack on a SeaWorld trainer surfaced this week thanks to an author who filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the imagery, which was used in a federal court case against the park.
The footage depicts trainer Ken Peters, whom U-T San Diego says is still working at the park, being held down as the Shamu-branded whale grabs his feet and injures them.
The case of SeaWorld v US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis led to the park losing its ability to use trainers in the water:
The court battle was over safety violations issued against SeaWorld following the 2010 death of Orlando park trainer Dawn Brancheau. SeaWorld challenged the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration sanctions and lost in June, though it could still appeal.
Part of the evidence against the park was the Peters video from 2006.
He ultimately suffered a torn ligament and puncture wounds before he dramatically broke free, swam for it, then ran as the whale charged toward water only a few inches deep. (That last part gives you an indication of how scared shitless the trainer must have been).
Author David Kirby recently released the book Death at Seaworld and, as part of its publicity, it seems, revealed the video he obtained through a Freedom of Information Act this week.
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SeaWorld gave this statement about the video to the U-T:
This incident was well documented and thoroughly covered by the news media in 2006. This video clearly shows the trainer's remarkable composure and the skillful execution of an emergency response plan, both of which helped result in a successful outcome with minor injuries. It should be noted that CalOSHA did not issue any citations to SeaWorld as a result of this incident. SeaWorld's trainer returned to work shortly after this incident and remains a member of the team at Shamu Stadium to this day.