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Whale Nearly Drowns Sea World Trainer in Video

Ken Peters pats orca's back, barely escapes alive

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 25, 2012 12:05 AM CDT | Updated Jul 25, 2012 12:31 AM CDT
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(Newser) – A chilling video of an attempt by a Sea World whale to drown her trainer has been shown at a hearing concerning workplace safety at the amusement park. The female orca Kasatka grabs trainer Ken Peters by one of his feet during a performance and drags him deep underwater in the video. Peters desperately struggles to free himself. Once he breaks the surface, gasping for air, he tries to calm the whale by gently patting her back as she releases him. Convinced she's finally calm, he swims for his life, his foot broken, to the side of the pool, where co-workers race to help him.

The tape from the 2006 near tragedy in San Diego was shown earlier this year as part of an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration into the 2010 death of Sea World Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was drowned by an orca, reports CBS. Peters testified that he was convinced Kasatka would let him go if he remained calm. A Sea World manager said no new safety measures were instituted at the San Diego park other than to order trainers not to swim with Kasatka or two other orcas.

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