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SeaWorld Orlando Charged With A “Willful Violation” In Trainer’s Death

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A trainer who was injured in an accident at SeaWorld involving a killer whale does not hold the park accountable, according to Reuters. Ken Peters was nearly drowned by a whale in California in 2006 and testified on November 15 as SeaWorld is defending allegations of negligence in the 2010 drowning of another trained. A different whale at SeaWorld Orlando killed Dawn Brancheau.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) charged SeaWorld Orlando with a “willful violation,” which is one of the more serious charges. The charge alleges that SeaWorld “showed indifference” to a potential hazard to employees health. They are facing a possible $75,000 fine from OSHA. The park may also be forced to disallow the physical contact and interaction between the trainers and the whales.

Vice President of zoological operations for SeaWorld California, Mike Scarpuzzi, said the park implemented fences around the tanks, a recommendation made to prevent trainers from falling or being pulled in.

“I’m not really sure what their purpose is other than they (trainers) have been directed to use them,” Scarpuzzi says. It will be interesting to see how the process plays out.

Do you think Sea World should be held responsible for potential employee and tourist injuries?

Wooten, Kimbrough & Normand, P.A.—Orlando wrongful death attorneys.