California warns SeaWorld over whale trainer risk
Published: March 2, 2007 at 9:48 AM
The report was in response to an incident last year when a killer whale dragged a trainer under water.
The LA Times provides the details. The state lauded SeaWorld's training and declined to cite the park for any safety violations. But it noted an inherent risk in working with large, carnivorous animals.
SeaWorld ripped the state report, meeting with the state agency's district manager and asking him to withdraw the report.
"We have proven over 40 years that we are very safe," Mike Scarpuzzi, vice president of zoological operations at SeaWorld San Diego and a former whale trainer, told the LA Times.
"The emergency procedures worked," he said to the paper. "We have a whale and a trainer, and both are alive. That's a successful end."
Update: Just got this from Busch corporate:
I saw your post on the California thing. We had a call with Cal OSHA today and they have agreed to rescind the informational memorandum (the document on which Tony Perry's [LA Times] story is based) as well as rewrite the 13,000-word narrative summary. From the release that we expect to issue today:
"Cal OSHA has decided to withdraw its informational memorandum and further review the narrative summary with the goal of rewriting the document to correct all deficiencies as they relate to its safety investigation of the Nov. 29, 2006 killer whale incident. SeaWorld officials expressed their surprise and serious concerns with the reports pointing out that they are riddled with inaccuracies, speculation and superficial suppositions, information unrelated to the investigation, and unsubstantiated and overreaching conclusions. Much of the information presented in the reports reflected a complete lack of understanding of the complexities of marine mammal biology, behavior and husbandry."