By Douglas Stanglin, USA TODAY
A chilling, 15-minute video showing a trainer at SeaWorld San Diego almost drowning after being dragged underwater by a killer whale during a performance in 2006 has been released following a Freedom of Information request, the San Diego U-T reports.
The incident, involving trainer Ken Peters and Kasatka, a female orca, was presented as evidence last fall by OSHA, the federal agency, in defense of the safety violations it issued against Seaworld following the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010 in a similar incident at SeaWorld Orlando.
The video was obtained by author David Kirby, who recently released his book Death at Seaworld, which raises questions about holding killer whales in captivity.
SeaWorld San Diego, the newspaper reports, issued a statement about the release of the video:
"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"
Administrative Law Judge Ken Welsch ruled in June that there had been violations at Seaworld and that the company should find ways to keep trainers and orcas separate during public performances, the U-T reports. SeaWorld is weighing a possible appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals.