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Top trainer: No signs before fatal whale attack

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[February 25, 2010]  ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The chief of animal training at SeaWorld said there was no sign of problems with a killer whale before it killed a trainer in front of horrified onlookers in Orlando.

Chuck Tompkins told the CBS "Early Show" on Thursday it was not true that the whale was misbehaving, as some witnesses have said.

Veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau (bran-CHOH') was rubbing the whale named Tilikum after a noontime show Wednesday when the whale grabbed her and pulled her into the water, killing her.

Tompkins said the 12,000-pound whale had done really well during the show and the trainer was rewarding him by rubbing him. Some witnesses said they had heard the whale was not responding earlier to commands.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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