An experienced trainer was killed at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. Dawn Brancheau, 40, a trainer at SeaWorld for 16 years, had just fed fish to the large male, called Tilikum, having finished a show with him. Stepping on to a shallow-water ledge at the pool’s edge, Brancheau lay down to interact face-to-face with the orca which she knew well. Witnesses described how Tilikum, reportedly the largest orca in captivity with a history of violence, lunged at Brancheau. It grabbed her ponytail and hauled her off the ledge into the deep pool water. The whale then took hold of Brancheau by the waist and both thrashed her about and held her under water until she was dead.