Autopsy Reveals Gruesome Details of Killer Whale Attack

03/31/2010 at 06:30 PM EDT

Autopsy Reveals Gruesome Details of Killer Whale Attack
Dawn Brancheau with killer whale Nalani
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SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau died as the result of drowning and traumatic injuries, including a torn scalp and arm, a final autopsy report released Wednesday revealed.

The veteran trainer, who was fatally attacked Feb. 24 by a killer whale at SeaWorld Orlando, suffered multiple fractures to her back, ribs, legs, arms and face, according to the six-page report, which also says the 12,000-pound male orca named Tilikum removed her left arm and part of her scalp.

The autopsy report adds that the trainer's spinal cord was injured and her body was covered in cuts and bruises, according to the Orlando Sentinel.


A report released Feb. 25 by the Orange County Florida Sheriff's Department revealed Tilikum had pulled Brancheau, a veteran who worked with whales for 16 years, "into the pool and was the cause of her fatal injuries."



Witnesses described seeing the killer whale grab Brancheau and drag her into the water. Brancheau was laid to rest March 1 in Alsip, Ill.

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