Trainers are no longer allowed in the water following the haunting event. Read full story in comment.

Joanne Webber, who was 26 years old, had been training orcas for five years when an accident occurred in 1987. A 6,000-pound orca landed on her, causing her to break her neck while she was in the tank.

The orca in question, Kandu V, had been involved in several incidents prior to the one Webber was hurt in.

John Hargrove, a former SeaWorld trainer featured in the 2013 documentary Blackfish, mentioned to The Sun Online that even though he wasn’t employed at the park during that time, he learned about the incident later on. He stated that Webber experienced intense pain.

He mentioned that the trainer yelled, “I believe my neck is broken,” while trying to get out of the pool to save herself.


According to a report by The Los Angeles Times, Kandu V jumped into the air and landed on Webber with great force during the practice session. This caused her neck to fracture and she was thrust underwater to the bottom of a 40-foot-deep pool.

Later, Webber sued SeaWorld in a case that was settled out of court for a sum unknown.

SeaWorld has banned trainers from swimming with the orcas since the incident. The park mentioned that their killer whales are well taken care of and not aggressive, receiving top-notch care from specialists who use positive reinforcement techniques.

inherentlywild / Orcaholic

Webber filed a lawsuit in June 1988 at the San Diego Superior Court. According to the lawsuit, she was assured that the mammals were “gentle” and “safe,” which led her to choose to be in the pool with them. The lawsuit also alleged that the staff members aggravated her condition by advising her to take off her wetsuit at the park, causing a delay in her medical treatment to prevent damage to the suit.

Webber accused the park employees of being fully aware that killer whales had a dangerous tendency to attack, ram, drag, and harm people in the pool. However, they failed to inform her about this. She stated that Kandu V frequently displayed extreme aggression when frustrated and would occasionally bite and aggressively rake other whales.

Getty Images

There have been previous incidents where the same mammal attacked humans. Before this incident, a former SeaWorld trainer named Jonathan Smith was also attacked by Kandu V, along with another orca named Kenau. The attack lasted for three minutes and resulted in Smith sustaining severe injuries, such as bruised kidneys, ribs, and a cut on his liver. He had to stay in the hospital for nine days. Similar to Webber’s situation, Smith’s lawsuit was resolved outside of court.

Even after the two attacks, Kandu V continued to entertain at SeaWorld until her tragic death on August 21, 1989.

During a performance, Kandu V’s daughter Orkid was joined by another female orca. Meanwhile, Kandu V, who was in a separate pool, suddenly charged towards Orkid with her mouth wide open. Unfortunately, this resulted in Kandu V breaking her jaw and severing a major artery in her nasal passages.

To the shock of the visitors, Kandu V started spouting blood out of her blowhole and died.

SeaWorld stated that Kandu V engaged in a struggle for dominance, and her actions were not unusual. Vet Jim McBain explained that this behavior is common among species, as the stronger animal must establish dominance for survival. Although Kandu V’s death was unexpected, the altercation itself was a normal occurrence and not rare at all.

In 2016, SeaWorld made a commitment to cease breeding orcas in captivity.

Recently, the incident involving Webber came to light when two orcas engaged in a fight during their performance.

Please SHARE this article with your family and friends on Facebook.

By AdminNN

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *