Dawn Brancheau, with one of SeaWorld's killer whales
ORLANDO, Florida (AP) -- Officials say trainers had to coax an aggressive whale into a smaller pool and use a platform to lift it out of the water before they could free a colleague from its jaws.
The Orange County Medical Examiner says 40-year-old trainer Dawn Brancheau probably died from multiple traumatic injuries and drowning after the killer whale pulled her into a pool at SeaWorld Orlando on Wednesday.
The county sheriff's office says co-workers couldn't immediately help her because the whale was so aggressive after it grabbed her by her pony tail and pulled her in.
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The office says an investigation is continuing but there are no signs of foul play and all evidence indicates it was a tragic accident.
Meanwhile, SeaWorld in San Diego is suspending the Shamu show for a second day.
Spokesman David Koontz says SeaWorld is offering its trainers counseling and are reviewing all its procedures, including how the trainers interact with animals. He says they are approaching the situation slowly and methodically and don't know when the show will resume.
Visitors can still see the orcas from the park's walkways.
On Thursday, Sea World GM Dan Brown read this statement from the family of Dawn Brancheau regarding her death:
"She was the best, it came naturally to her. Being a trainer was a lifelong dream she achieved. She was a compassionate, loving person who touched so many lives."
Brown added that funeral arrangements and memorial plans are still pending.
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