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Dawn Brancheau

Born: 1970-01-01 - Died: 2010-02-24
Cause of Death:
Drowning by Orca Whale

Death Summary: Dawn Brancheau died from multiple injuries and drowning after Tilikum grabbed her ponytail and drug her underwater.

The killer whale began thrashing around. The whale shook her so hard her shoes flew off.

After Brancheau was pulled from the tank, paramedics were unable to revive her.

Who was Dawn Brancheau : Dawn Brancheau was raised far from the ocean in Indiana. On a family vacation to SeaWorld she became infatuated with Orca Whales, saying "I wanna be a Shamu trainer" according to her mother.

She graduated from South Carolina with degrees in both psychology and animal behavior, and wasted little time landing her dream job at SeaWorld in the mid 1990's.
Popular YouTube videos about Dawn Brancheau

47 Signatures in Dawn Brancheau's guestbook

  1. Ime Says:


  2. adam zamora Says:


  3. samantha kilby Says:

    i am sorry for you lose

  4. Bethany Says:

    R.I.P Dawn you didn’t deserve this.
    Sorry for your family.

  5. josh Says:

    that sucks she was killed by a whale that why they call them killer whales

  6. Lola Says:

    I’m so sorry, such a sad way to die.

  7. Jo Angevine Says:

    What a horrible way to go—Rest in peace..

  8. rodney ertle Says:

    a great loss

  9. rodney ertle Says:

    you will be missed

  10. Rita Johnson Says:

    So very sorry for your tragic loss. She was such a young bright girl with her whole future ahead of her. When such tragedies happen we all wonder, Why? No family should have to go through such pain and sorrow. May it comfort you to know that this was never God’s purpose for us, and one day soon he promises that such tragedies will be a thing of the past. My son also died when he was just 29, but i know I will see him again as long as I do the will of our heavenly father, Jehovah, and follow in the footsteps of the Christ who left a model for us to follow. If we do those things then we are gurranteed to see our children again. Daniel 12:2 promises that there will be many of those asleep in the ground of dust who will wake up. Also Isaiah 25:8 promises that Jehovah, the Sovereign Lord will swallow up death forever and certainly wipe the tears from all faces.” May your family find much comfort and strength from these wonderful promises, and I invite you to contact me on my e-mail address so that we can further discuss God’s purpose. May you be blessed.

  11. J. Smith Says:

    Despite significant research on the whale species, remember ALWAYS what they represent. The are wild and trained to be domestic. They are wild first, domestic second. It is their instinct to hunt, predate and kill. Humans are no exception per se. This is a tragic loss but one of great risk … this species is to be revered not treated as a domestic pet in a hugh swimming pool to be gawked at. That, in fact, is exactly what occurs every show. It is quite unfortunate for the trainer and the whale. The practice should cease and desist.

  12. katie hudson Says:

    did the whale kill her RIP

  13. mikey the killer whale Says:

    First i would like to say what did you people expect me to do??? i am a killer whale yes a muderer by nature. the fact that i whacked this idiot douche bag makes me happy!! for the love of christ peolple!! i am actually in the porpoise family and not a whale at all!! thats like caller a white man a nigger!! this dumb cunt would break my balls everyday with that fucking whistle and some stupid fish. after years of being in a shitty tank with some faggot other whales i lost it. in the wild my territory would be thousands of miles. in this goldy pisswater tank i get maybe 400 fett of shit water. then that idiot fag that gives out a wooden whales tale made by gooks shackeled to a floor in vietnam blows my mind. i mean really half the fucking show is selling those idiotic things. what a piece of shit. anyways long story short this cunt was busting my chops. hey fuck her im a killer whale and my friends respect me for it. what are they gonna do to punish me. put me in a shitty tank and make me do tricks for obese tourists. hmmmmmmm!!!

  14. catherine Says:

    i wish u an d ur family the best of luck

  15. gigigo Says:

    you got a big o head

  16. bigballz Says:

    you got a big o head haha

  17. Don Foster Says:

    You followed your dream from a little girl to do what you heart told you, rest in peace Honey.

  18. jayjay11 Says:

    she was a great person. RIP

  19. jake c Says:

    let i be known to all with an IQ slightly higher than a clam. Do not get in the water with a killer whale they will kill you. Certainly if you are a total retard then jump right in with one. What a shock that the most vicious killer in the ocean was not a happy go lucky creature. Yet nothing more than a killing machine who misses the ocean. We are stunned at the level of surprise from so many people. As if we really did not think this was going to happen. We must stop these creatures before they move to walking on dry land and killing us.

  20. Cheryl Golushka Says:

    you were amazing! we saw you last September and you were just outstanding! TY & RIP

  21. kt Says:

    it’s sad that your dead. Sucks to be you. Guess you shouldn’t have been playing with KILLER whales…..

  22. amanda Says:


  23. mike Says:


  24. EASY GIRL Says:


  25. Selena Gomez Says:

    You were amazing and very devoted to training these precious Shamus!

  26. justin beiber Says:

    i humped this whale ya!

  27. justin beiber Says:

    ya suck it b****

  28. michel jackson from the dead Says:

    ahhya ohhh a hey justin wanna come to my place and play twister (in my bed) you too whale

  29. john knowles Says:

    idiots writing stupid comments take a long hard look at yourselves think before you act, rip dawn

  30. 4age Says:

    it’s what she wants and she enjoyed doing it. RIP dawn..see you on the other side

  31. Celine Earley Says:

    I’m really Dawn that u had to go through with this. I feel very sorry for ur parents. R.I.P

  32. Celine Earley Says:

    I’m really sorry Dawn that u had to go through with this. I feel very sorry for ur parents. R.I.P. I have to write a newspaper article about u in school and It’s just so sad that u had to go that way. I’m trully sorry for all the people that had to watch this happen and I’m trully sorry for all ur friends and family. May u rest in peace. Amen

  33. Kenny Fleischman Says:


  34. Christina Maldonado Says:

    OMG God Bless her. She always had a special glow. This was a horrible situation gone bad. My question was why out all people no one dove in to help her. How could they just watch. I believe they should have a special team just to help in any kind of accident. yes, this should never had turned in to a death. What kind of people let a person suffer something like this. my biggest fear is drowning and fire. I almost drowned when i was lil it traumatized me. That is the most terrifying thing. I continue to search her videos. I do not understand it does not fit in my mind that all those people and nobody helped. What seaworld was more worried about fans wathcing this horglific thing.Instead, they shoud have worried about their employee. There hardly no people with a real heart left in this world. This is all about money. I believe Dawn gave up thinking someone was going to save her. In her mind all there was, she was trainer of killer whale. O.K. “there is nothing to worry i am safe, there are enough crew if something goes wrong” she thought she was safe there. So many people what can go wrong. Never did she think they would let her down.But, I cant beat my self over someone else’s negligence. I understand this whale was stressed. i would personaly have some kind of immediate tranquilizer just in case. Now everyone says ,well Dawn would have die doing this job”. O.k it is safer than sea but it’s a killer whale c’m on man can overcome this. To me, she should be alive. I know her family does not want the security surveilance to show the video. Let me tell you, the hispanic and other than caucasian show more detail.I say show the video so people understand not to do something like this because this can take your life. i know when i was little i wanted be a nurse. So, i am a surgical technician and i can control my actions, indeed Mrs. Brancheau wanted to be a trainer but, can you really control a killer whale. i am just appaled on this situation.

  35. christina maldonado Says:

    To the loving family of dawn brancheau,
    hi my name is christina maldonado, i relate myself with Dawn because i accomplishe my dream. it is almost alike but different species. i always wanted to work with newborn babies so when i got my Assosiates and surgical technician I Flew to work in labor and delivery. I chose labor and delivere because its a miracle. Just like dawn its a miracle to train a whale. It’s very rare for something to go wrong in a maternity ward. though 2 of my four babies were premature and had some complications, i was blessed. my son is deaf and my daughter who was one pound has vission impairment.Jason Cody and Isamar Alexis were premature. My sweet miracles give me a reason to live.Just like Dawn show us that impossibles are possible.Well, i scrub for all c-sections. I love It, and I also assist in all normal deliveries. It still does not fit in my head that they let Dawn die,yes they left her. Out of all these people why did nobody dive in the tank to get her out. They should have had some kind of emergency drill just in case something went wrong. so many things go through my mind for ways to have saved her. No, she did not die happy because you see her trying to ask for help. She probably thought , “ok what could go wrong this place is safe if something goes wrong someone will help me”. Unfortunately she was in shock trying to say “what is going on nobody is going to help me”. They should have had some kind of tranquilizer just in case something like this happened. Sorry family , it just does not fit in my head. I know i cannot bring her back.I love and admire DAWN BRANCHEAU God Bless her soul may she rest in peace.

  36. Martha Says:

    She was an amazing person. as a child seeing these creatures and wanting to tend to them. its very hard and difficult. but she managed it. i dont want to sound mean or point fingers, but in a way she shouldve thought about what she was doing. When you play with Dolphins or whales like that when you train them, they have something sortof on a rope and they thrash it around for them to do tricks. her hair was down in a ponytail tht day wen she was supposed to put it in a bun. He thought she was playing with him, so thats how. But she is a strong person and she still foought back when most people would’ve given up. RIP <3

  37. LOL Says:


  38. Jaklivia Huebsch Says:

    Dear Dawn,
    We miss you very much and Tilikum is also very sorry.:( The thing that you have to remember is that these animals natural instinks are to protect themselves. Capitvity can be crucial to an animals life, but it can also be full of sorrow in its life, but most important, Tillikum loved you
    Your good friend,
    Jaklivia Huebsch

  39. jaklivia huebsch Says:

    We miss you so much it was a great loss it fells like a void in the universe.
    Your good friend,
    Jaklivia Huebsch

  40. Mary c Says:

    Dear dawn we miss you at work when you were alive. The whales miss you and so does kiki the retarded hatian girl we took in one summer. Kiki just keeps playing with her nose bone and saying why so so fucking stupid to swim with killler whale. Then she smears her feces onto the pavement as proscribed by hatian scripture. Bless her heart and massive horse lip labia

  41. Mary Egress Says:

    I hate when people say she died doing what she loved. She loved getting her neck broken by a killer whale. Well then I guess she went happy.

  42. RICH Says:

    Orca’s dont belong in tanks doing tricks

  43. elias artoul Says:

    you are vry beutiful women ilove you ijust see your video and it kilng my hurt you will bee the best women and olso ilove you so mushhhhh <3<3<3<3<3<3<3

  44. kiki the retarded hatian girl Says:

    She still no come back to swim with murderer of the sea.

  45. Gloria Says:

    So sad but she died doing the job she loved

  46. Emma Says:

    I truly believe what was said about the whale kionwng that he was going to do it and who he was going to do it to.Once a whale is brought into captivity they want all the attention.They don’t want to share their trainer with another whale or sea creature.I have done extensive research on whales as well as dolphins due to going to Sea World when I was a child in Florida.It bothered me that all these gorgeous animals were brought from their home and put in tanks.I believe when a whale is young at these attractions, it may be exciting to them to get all of this attention and be fed,not having to scavenge for food.But once they are older I believe it gets frustrating to them. seeing other mammals come and go,as well as get the attention they feel is theirs.This was a male whale and I also believe that they form bonds with their trainers that we as people do not fully understand.Like a school boy/girl crush in the 3rd grade.Then as they become older it is more like a violent boyfriend/girlfriend type jealousy situation.Whales much like dolphins,truly form a relationship with people and I believe that a lot of the trainers take that too lightly.They see the beauty in people but also form an opinion of them much like we do on first impressions.Please do not take this at all,as professional advice.It is very much my own opinion ,that I have formed from my years of study,on whales and dolphins as well as other sea creatures.They have always fascinated me tremendously.They truly are beautiful animals and so very much like they human population with the ability to breathe underwater.I feel terrible for the family of this trainer and my thought and prayers are with her family.But I do believe that when the whale realizes she is GONE,He too will feel a great loss.I don’t believe he was TRYING to KILL her.We struggle to understand these creatures and all the while they are also struggling to understand us as well.But please also keep in mind they DO NOT capture and keep us in cages!!!!

  47. Mustafa Says:

    Emma you are a world of misinformation. Wow

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