Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Whale kills trainer as horrified spectators watch

killer whale Pictures, Images and Photos

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A SeaWorld killer whale snatched a trainer from a poolside platform Wednesday in its jaws and thrashed the woman around underwater, killing her in front of a horrified audience. It marked the third time the animal had been involved in a human death.

Distraught audience members were hustled out of the stadium immediately, and part of the park was closed.

Trainer Dawn Brancheau, 40, was rubbing Tilikum after a noontime show when the 12,000-pound whale grabbed her and pulled her in, said Chuck Tompkins, head of animal training at all SeaWorld parks. Park officials say the veteran trainer drowned.

Audience member Eldon Skaggs said Brancheau's interaction with the whale appeared leisurely and informal at first. But then the whale "pulled her under and started swimming around with her," he told The Associated Press.

Skaggs, 72, said an alarm sounded and staff rushed the audience out of the stadium as workers scrambled around with nets.

Skaggs said he heard that during an earlier show the whale was not responding to directions. Others who attended the earlier show said the whale was behaving like an ornery child.

He left with his wife and didn't find out until later that the trainer had died. The retired couple from Michigan had been among some stragglers in the audience who had stayed to watch the animals and trainers when the accident occurred.

"We were just a little bit stunned," said Skaggs' wife, Sue Nichols, 67.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Less than 3 in every 20 Americans have faith in govt.

A recent poll suggests that only 14 percent of Americans have complete faith in the United States government and the way it functions.

Results of a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll published Sunday further indicated that 85 percent of those surveyed believe that "the system of government is broken."

The polling center interviewed 1,023 adult Americans, including 954 registered voters, over phone between February 12 and February 15.

Compared with a similar survey in 2006, the percentage of Americans who think the government is broken has increased by eight points.

"That increase is highest among higher-income Americans and people who live in rural areas," said Keating Holland, CNN polling director.

The poll's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Monday, February 15, 2010