Hearing on SeaWorld trainer’s death will resume

By KYLE HIGHTOWER Associated Press

September 20, 2011

A hearing to determine whether SeaWorld Orlando should pay fines levied by a federal job safety agency after the death of a trainer at its park resumes with government attorneys possibly introducing video of the incident.

An administrative law judge is expected to hear more witnesses Tuesday as SeaWorld appeals three citations and $75,000 fines it received from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration following the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau (bran-CHOH’) last year. She was pulled underwater by an orca whale and drowned.

OSHA attorneys say their citations should apply to performances, but SeaWorld officials say there’s little difference in how trainers interact with the whales in the shows and behind the scenes.

A ruling against SeaWorld could force park officials to change how trainers interact with the whales.

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