SeaWorld Trainers to Take the Plunge

Wednesday, Feb 23, 2011  |  Updated 6:30 PM PDT
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Trainers will soon be back in the water with killer whales for the first time since a trainer's death last year, according to SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment officials.

Trainers at the company's three U.S. marine parks, including San Diego, will begin limited water work with whales within the next few months, said SeaWorld spokeswoman Becca Bides.

The interactions will be restricted initially to small medical pools equipped with false-bottom floors that can be lifted out of the water.

Trainers have not been allowed in the water with whales since last February, when trainer Dawn Brancheau was dragged into the water and killed by a six-ton orca named Tilikum.

The company says it also plans to spend tens of millions of dollars on safety upgrades at its San Diego, Orlando, and San Antonio parks.

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