Orca Trainer Tilikum Keiko

October 26, 2013 by  

Orca Trainer Tilikum Keiko, Colin Baird still remembers the day he got the call from work more than 23 years ago, when he learned of his co-worker’s fate.

“We need you to come in,” said his colleague from the Sealand of the Pacific in Victoria.

His fellow trainer, 20-year old Keltie Byrne, had slipped and fallen into the orca tank. Byrne was an exceptionally strong swimmer but she was no match for the aquarium’s killer whales.

“She tried to get back out and the other girl tried to pull her up, but the whale grabbed her back foot and pulled her under,” eyewitness Nadine Kallen told CNN affiliate CTV in 1991. “And then the whales — they bounced her around the pool a whole bunch of times, and she was screaming for help.

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