I noted in February that WDCS continued to be concerned about the apparent self regulation that Sea World is able to exercise in the USA over its own health and safety regime.
We asked why a report, by the California state Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Occupational Safety and Health was released following the attack on a trainer by a killer whale at Sea World Adventure Park in San Diego in 2006 but that criticisms that it contained were retracted after only two days?
Would those criticisms if they had stood maybe have saved a life?
USA Today has now got hold of the full report and are asking the same questions.
The article says that Orca trainer Ken Peters, an very experienced trainer, had dived into the bottom of the Sea World pool ready to interact with Kasatka.
Then Kasatka's calf Kalia cried out from another pool and Kasatka 'broke from the trick and grabbed both of Peters' feet in her jaws, holding him underwater and shaking him "violently" like a rag doll for nearly a minute'.
The article goes onto say that when the pair surfaced 'Peters yelled for help, but the whale ignored other trainers' commands, again pulling Peters underwater and clamping down harder on his feet. The third time, Kasatka thrashed him and then took him to the bottom of the pool and lay against him, holding him until he went limp.'
It is reported that Peters survived the attack with puncture wounds and a broken foot but that it was the second incident in a month in which a killer whale had grabbed and thrashed a trainer at the San Diego park.
So again we pose the question, who is liable here? The news reports suggest that OSHA withdrew their criticisms in the original report from Sea World. Was Sea World actually allowed to do this?
If action had been taken then would the tragedy in February this year have been avoided?
This is not an industry that should be able to claim that they are the specialists in managing themselves.
How many more tragedies need to happen before someone wakes up and takes action?