Sea World Trainer Killed: Home Video Shows Her Moments Before Death

Two days since SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by a killer whale named Tilikum, a video has emerged showing her feeding and playing with the orca just seconds before the fatal incident. (Watch the entire 12-minute video on YouTube)

A screen capture from the Todd Connell video shows Dawn Brancheau moments before she was attacked by the killer whale. (From
Todd Connell was filming Brancheau and the whale on his camcorder while visiting the park with his wife and 10-year-old son. Todd told local NBC affiliate WESH-TV that soon after he turned off the camera while his family was preparing to leave the area, the whale grabbed the trainer by her ponytail and pulled her under.

"I saw her hair in his mouth, and he rolled and she went over the top of him and went right up underneath and then he just took her down," he said.

Connell's wife, Suzanne Connell, said their son was in hysterics upon seeing the attack. She said she was infuriated when she first heard representatives for the park say that Brancheau had slipped into the tank and was not pulled. Suzanne said that "was not what happened at all."

The video raises further questions for some. While there is no dispute that the whale grabbed Brancheau, the video makes it clear that she was partially submerged on a platform in the whale's tank. While this is completely fine for senior trainers, it has many wondering just how close trainers should be allowed to come to the very large predators.

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