Autopsy: SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau suffered blunt injuries

1:03 PM, Mar 31, 2010   |    comments
Dawn Brancheau, with one of SeaWorld's killer whales
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ORLANDO, Florida -- An autopsy shows that a SeaWorld Orlando trainer attacked by a killer whale died of drowning and blunt-force trauma to her head, neck and torso.

Pictures: Killer whale immediately after Sea World attack

The autopsy report released Wednesday lists Dawn Brancheau's official cause of death as drowning and traumatic injuries. The medical examiner's office ruled her death an accident. Toxicology tests found no drugs in her system.

A killer whale named Tilikum snatched the 40-year-old trainer from a poolside platform in its jaws and thrashed her around underwater, killing her in front of a horrified audience in February. It marked the third time the whale had been involved in a death.

The autopsy noted that one of Brancheau's arms was torn off.  "Complete avulsion of upper left extremity," the report said.


According to the autopsy, Brancheau suffered traumatic injuries, including blunt force injuries to her head and neck. She also had cuts on her right ear, abrasions on her left cheek, and cuts on her back. She had a fractured rib, sternum and mandible, the report said.


An initial autopsy determined that Brancheau, 40, likely died of multiple traumatic injuries and drowning.


Local media is in the midst of a court battle with SeaWorld and the Sheriff's Office over a video recording of the incident that has not been released to the public.

Here are links to all of our coverage of the SeaWorld Orlando attack:

WKMG Local 6 and The Associated Press

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