Tribute at SeaWorld for NW Ind. whale trainer

February 27, 2010 (ORLANDO)

Hundreds of people watched Saturday's killer whales show, which began with a photo montage of Dawn Brancheau.

Brancheau, 40, is from Northwest Indiana. The veteran trainer was killed when a 12,000 pound orca named Tilikum dragged her underwater.

Home video shot by a tourist could help answer questions. At one point in the video Brancheau is seen lying in a shallow pool next to the whale which one expert says should have never happened.

"When I was there we did have a protocol that you would not do that. You would not lay down in a slide out and get that close to his mouth. Now whether she broke that protocol or not, I don't know. Or if the protocol changed in how they were working with him. But I'm pretty sure it was her breaking the protocol," said Thad Lacinak, former head trainer, SeaWorld.

Before Saturday's show started, whale trainers received a standing ovation from the crowd. IN light of Brancheau's death, SeaWorld is not allowing trainers in the water.

Protesters who think the killer whales should be released into the wild plan to demonstrate today.

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