Clipped From Ukiah Daily Journal
'Orky' nearly killed another trainer 10 years ago SAN DIEGO (AP) — A killer whale that crushed a trainer, seriously injuring him during a Sea World performance, nearly killed another trainer 10 years ago in an incident at a different marine park, its former trainers say. Orky, the male killer whale that landed on top of a trainer who was riding another whale during a Nov. 21 Sea World show, had not been in the water with humans since it pinned the Marincland trainer at the bottom of its pool in 1978* former Marineland employees said. "We didn't regularly do water work with him (after that) because we didn't feel it was safe," said Kim Desmond, chief trainer at Marineland from 1974 until the Rancho Palos Verdes aquatic park was bought and closed by Sea World last year. Sea World trainers were warned about the dangerousness of Orky by their Marineland counterparts, who were not included in the transition to San Diego, said Bud Krames, a former Marineland trainer and former supervisor of Sea World's animal behavior department. "After the Marineland trainers protested, we were allowed one day to visit (Sea World trainers) and give all we knew about Orky," Krames said. "I don't think they listened at all. Orky was not used to having trainers in the pool with him." The six-ton whale, which was taken to Marineland shortly after its capture in British Columbia 19 years ago, was having trouble adjusting to Sea World's new $13 million Shamu Stadium, Krames said. Orky also was adjusting to new hand signals from new trainers and being the only male in a pool with four females before the most recent accident, Krames said. Sea World trainer John Sillick, 26, remains in fair condition at UC- San Diego Medical Center with fractured ribs, pelvis and femur suffered in the accident that led to the firing of the park's president and three other top employees. Fired president Jan E. Schultz will be replaced by Robert Gault, current president of the Orlando Sea World and former president of Sea World's park in Aurora, Ohio, the San Diego Union reported Thursday.