SeaWorld killer whale attack at Shamu Stadium: newlyweds recount

11:35 AM, Feb 26, 2010   |    comments
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PORT RICHEY, Florida - The highlight of their honeymoon turned into a memory they'd like to forget.

Eldon Skaggs and his wife, Sue, drove to SeaWorld specifically for the Shamu show and had a front-row seat for the deadly attack on trainer Dawn Brancheau.

PHOTOS: Killer whale immediately after SeaWorld trainer attack

"The whale got her," Eldon recalled somebody yelling as he finished up his poolside lunch. "All of a sudden, I saw the whale come up out of the water and that woman was in that whale's mouth.

"It looked to me like she was still alive at that time, but back down he went and he never went back down again."

The couple said sirens started going off and SeaWorld staff started clearing out the stadium. Until then, they thought the trainer was just acting out another stunt.

They later heard she died when a relative called them on the phone and they left the park with vouchers for another visit. Sue said they'd like to return, but Eldon wants to see the killer Orca retired.

"If that whale is that dangerous, where trainers can't get in the water with it," he said, "I think they ought to keep it out of the shows."

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Noah Pransky

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