SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau had to be forcibly extracted from the mouth of the orca that killed her, say witness accounts released by police. The accounts rehash much already known information but paint a more complete portrait of the chaotic rescue efforts. After the whale bit down on Brancheau's ponytail, "within the span of two seconds, she was pulled into the pool, unable to get her hair released from his mouth," said a fellow trainer. The whale circled the pool and dove repeatedly.
In addition, the Orlando Sentinel reports, rescuers had trouble deploying nets designed to control Tilikum and separate him from other whales as they attempted to save Brancheau. It “seemed like” 10 minutes elapsed before they had him under control, a witness says. A SeaWorld worker said rescuers had to pry open the killer whale’s mouth twice before they could free Brancheau’s body. (Read more Dawn Brancheau stories.)