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Kiler whale turns on trainer
Old 28.07.2004, 19:31   #1
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Default Kiler whale turns on trainer

Killer whale turns on trainer

A killer whale has attacked its trainer during a show at a Texas theme park, as several thousand stunned spectators looked on.

During an afternoon performance in the whale pool at San Antonio Sea World, a young male whale named Ky started pushing his trainer, Steve Aibel, under water.

Mr Aibel was not hurt in the incident, which lasted several minutes.

Mr Aibel says he suspects that Ky, who is near breeding age, may have been acting like an aggressive teenager. He says the solution to the problem was to calm the whale down.

"What we do as trainers is all the time we look for opportunities to reinforce calm, relaxed behaviour and if you watched, that's really what I was waiting for," he said.

"I was waiting for him to calm down, I rubbed him down, exited the pool and we moved on from there."

Mr Aibel says he has worked with the animal for 10 years and he has not lost trust in his charge as a result of the incident.

"I had full faith in this animal, knowing him for 10 years, that he would do the right thing, and I think he did. He calmed down, we moved on and things are great," he said.

Justin Lecourias, who witnessed the attack, said: "The whale was staying between the [exit] ramp and the trainer and finally the trainer jumped on top of the whale's back and leaped over him and another trainer caught him.

"The whale turned around and slammed down on the ramp and he was pretty upset that the trainer got out of the pool."

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