Killed SeaWorld Trainer Believed in Trust Relationship with Whales

Feb. 24 2010, Published 11:39 a.m. ET

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Dawn Brancheau, the SeaWorld Orlando trainer who recently was killed by a whale, believed in the special relationship between the trainer and the animal. unearthed an old interview in which she discussed her childhood passion for the profession and talked about trust in the tank.

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"You can't put yourself in the water unless you trust them and they trust you," Brancheau told the Orlando Sentinel in January 2006 when the theme park revamped its signature Shamu show to feature new interactions between the whales and their trainers.

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She reportedly died on Wednesday after slipping into the pool of a 30-year old whale named Tilikum- an animal responsible for two previous deaths.

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In the interview, she also described the moment she decided to be a trainer.

"I remember walking down the aisle of Shamu Stadium and telling my mom, 'This is what I want to do,'" she said about a trip to SeaWorld when she was nine. She began her career working at the Sea Lion & Otter Stadium before then spending over a decade working with killer whales.


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