SeaWorld Trainer's Family Wants to Prevent Release of Video Footage of Accident

The family of a SeaWorld Orlando trainer who was drowned by a killer whale after a Feb. 24 performance, is gearing up for a legal battle to prevent video footage of the incident from appearing online or on television, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Forty-year-old trainer Dawn Brancheau died from multiple traumatic injuries and drowning after a 22-foot-long whale pulled her into the pool by her ponytail after a performance.

SeaWorld's cameras recorded the death, and the tapes were voluntarily turned over to law enforcement. The Orange County Sheriff's Office, who now has the video, has received several calls from sources trying to obtain copies of the video, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Once the Orange County Sheriff's Office concludes its investigation, the material would become public under Florida law.

SeaWorld Orlando has "offered to assist them [Brancheau's family] in any way we can, including helping them prevent the release of these images," a park spokesman said Monday.

Brancheau's family said through a spokesman that public airing of the killing would only worsen their grief.

They could seek a court injunction to stop the release, at least temporarily. The family has been consulting the lawyer who represented Dale Earnhardt's widow in a court fight over his autopsy photos.

Meantime, SeaWorld is reconsidering whether to continue using the 12,000-pound whale named Tilikum who killed Brancheau, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Tilikum has not participated in any shows since Brancheau's death, the paper reported.

SeaWorld now says it plans to hold off on making any decisions about its killer whales until the police investigation is complete. The park's training and safety policies are currently under review and the park hopes to have a completed report by the end of the month, the paper reported.

"It is likely that Tilikum will return to shows, but it's premature to acknowledge that at this point," SeaWorld spokesman Fred Jacobs said Tuesday, according to the paper.

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The Orlando Sentinel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.