A killer whale trainer died following a brutal attack that saw the mammal rip out his internal organs.
Alexis Martínez was 29 when he died on Christmas Eve 2009 while training for his routine with Keto the orca at Loro Parque’s Orca Ocean in the Canary Islands.
Keto had started acting unusually during a routine session that day before killing Mr Martínez in a savage assault while other trainers watched on.
The orca’s strange behaviour began when the trainer struggled to have him perform several moves.
While he failed to complete a planned display, the whale appeared calm as he floated on the pool’s surface.
After a while, another staff member noted that Keto seemed to have carefully positioned himself close to the pool’s edge.
They said he was placed in front of his trainer, and as he swam forward, the animal surged to meet him.
Keto started pressing into Mr Martínez during the underwater stage call towards the bottom of the pool’s floor.
Trainers tried, to no avail, to use commands that always controlled the orcas as Keto continued pressing downwards with his rostrum – a bony protrusion at the tip of a whale’s mouth that functions like a beak.
They attempted further commands that produced a brief response, with the whale emerging briefly to expel air.
But he dived down once more, only to emerge with Mr Martínez on the tip of his mouth.
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This article by Liam Doyle was first published by The Express on 29 October 2023. Lead Image: Trainer’s horrific death as SeaWorld killer whale ‘tore his organs and bit his body’ (Image: NC).