A terrifying video of a 5,000-pound killer whale playing with a Sea World trainer like he is a ragdoll was released this week.
The video was recorded in 2006 at Sea World’s San Diego theme park and was released by journalist David Kirby, whose new book, “Death and Sea World,” delves into the controversial practice of keeping killer whales in captivity.
In the video the whale, who is named Kasatka, grabs the trainer, Ken Peters, by the leg and pulls him under water. The incident lasts nine minutes in total, according to ABC News, and when Peters is released, he sprints for the side of the pool and then runs, seemingly horrified, towards two people who are watching.
Kirby believes that the whale was trying to send the trainer, who had trained Kasatka for years, a message, according to ABC News.
“I think she was trying to tell him, ‘Hey, I got to go take care of my kid …she’s calling for me, and I don’t want to perform,’” Kirby told ABC News.
The video was used as evidence in a court case in late 2011, when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration defended its decision to issue Sea World a citation after Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed in 2010 by killer whale Tilikum, who had killed two other people prior to Brancheau.
The organization said that the video proved that Sea World was aware of the risks of working with killer whales, as Sea World claimed after Brancheau’s death that it was unaware of the dangers, according to ABC News.
For Sea World’s part, it told ABC News that Peters “showed skillful execution of an emergency response plan” and “returned to work shortly after this incident and remains a member of the team at Shamu Stadium to this day.”