SeaWorld visitor’s disturbing video of struggling whale goes viral
This is not a good summer for SeaWorld, public-relations wise. First, it was smacked with a $38,500 fine from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in June for operating a workplace that could “cause death or serious physical harm to employees,” more fallout from the 2010 accidental death of trainer Dawn Brancheau at SeaWorld Orlando. They’ve also had to contend with the fact that the unflattering documentary Blackfish has recently been released in theaters around the nation (it’s opening at the Enzian in Orlando on Aug. 9). SeaWorld tried to pre-emptively refute information in the film before it was released, but the park’s spin machine quickly got smacked down by marine mammal advocates.
Now, this video from SeaWorld Orlando has turned up. Park visitor Carlo De Leonibus was visiting the park with his family when a small pilot whale apparently beached itself on a “slide out” area of the pool. Despite the mounting concern of the crowds, nobody from the park came out to help the whale. Other whales come out of the water and appear to try to help it, but an announcer tells people over a loudspeaker that staff is monitoring the situation and there’s nothing to worry about. De Leonibus estimated that the whale was stuck there for 10 to 20 minutes, and he and his family became so distraught that they went to seek help from staff. Eventually, trainers came and pushed the whale back into the water.