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A SeaWorld whale who attacked waterpark show turned to terror when a killer whale attacked its trainer in front of shocked spectators.
Orca Kyuquot – child of the infamous Tilikum, who killed three people – was taking part in the usual performance show at the San Antonio, Texas, SeaWorld on July 27, 2004.
But it didn't take long for something to go horribly wrong – an incident that saw the 30-year-old animal locked up and banned from working with humans ever since.
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Video footage taken at the time shows how Kyuquot had started to ignore his trainer Steve Aibel.
Every time Steve tried to come up for air, the whale pounced on him, pushing him back under.
Staff were unable to help Steve, who had worked with the orca for around 10 years, and the attack lasted for around 10 minutes.
It later became apparent that Kyuquot was exhibiting signs of wanting to breed, and that his “adolescent hormones” were elevated.
Witness Justin Lecourias said at the time: “The whale was jumping all over the place, then it tried to take a bite out of the guy.”
Recalling the event, Steve said: “17 years of training with animals and I've never had an experience like that.
“It looked like Ky lost a little bit of focus.
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“I wasn't frightened. I think that by being calm throughout the process it helped to calm Ky down.”
Although Kyuquot is still alive – and still at the park in San Antonion, Texas, he was locked away from the public in 2004.
While the incident with his trainer was thought to be the result of his maturing, he was banned from working with humans – a ban that has not been lifted since.
According to Orcapod.fandom.com: “He is a reliable whale and is most often grouped with Tuar, though he likes spending time with Takara and can be seen with any of his pod mates.
“Takara gave birth to Kyuquot's first calf. The calf was a female named Kyara.
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“Kyara passed away on July 24, 2017 from an infection, thought to be pneumonia.
“Kyuquot had met his daughter before she passed.”
In 2015, a wildlife vet named Dr Heather Rally visited Kyuquot and found that he had a collapsed dorsal fin.
This is something that happens in captivity when the orca has a lack of space and spends too much time on the water's surface.
A petition was launched to have him released into the wild, but he remains as the park, away from humans, to this day.
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