A killer whale at SeaWorld Orlando jumped out of the water and fatally attacked a worker, as horrified visitors looked on.
Orange County Fire Rescue spokesman John Mulhall says paramedics were called on Wednesday afternoon to the Shamu Stadium at the Florida theme park resort where they found a worker who could not be revived.
Park guest Victoria Biniak told WKMG-TV that the trainer had just finished explaining to the audience the show they were about to see.
Biniak told the station the whale suddenly came up from the water, grabbed the trainer around the waist and "thrashed her all around" to the point the trainer's shoe fell off.
The guests were evacuated and the park was closed.
The fatal attack is not the first time that a killer whale at a SeaWorld park has turned on a trainer.
In November 2006, trainer Kenneth Peters, 39, was bitten and held underwater several times by a 3175kg killer whale during a show at SeaWorld's San Diego park. He escaped with a broken foot.
The 5.18m-long orca who attacked him was the dominant female of SeaWorld San Diego's seven killer whales. She had attacked Peters on two prior occasions, in 1993 and 1999.
In December, a whale drowned a trainer at a Spanish zoo.
At the Orlando SeaWorld, the body of a naked man was found scratched, bruised and draped over a 5-ton orca named Tilikum in July 1999.
Daniel Dukes, 27, reportedly made his way past security at SeaWorld, remaining in the park after it had closed. Wearing only his underwear, Dukes either jumped, fell or was pulled into the frigid water of Tilikum's huge tank.
An autopsy ruled that he died of hypothermia in the 50-degree water. Dukes' parents filed a lawsuit against the park later that year but later withdrew it.
I notice that the media have taken to calling orcas "killer whales" again for this story.