SeaWorld fights fine over trainer's death

September 19, 2011 - 8:35 AM

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — SeaWorld Orlando and government attorneys are in a Florida courtroom fighting over citations the theme park was issued following the death of a trainer who was grabbed by a killer whale and dragged under water last year.

The weeklong hearing starts Monday in a courtroom in Sanford, an Orlando suburb.

SeaWorld says three safety citations, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after an investigation into trainer Dawn Brancheau's death, are unfounded. The amusement park says the allegations are baseless and unsupported by the evidence.

Brancheau died Feb. 24, 2010, when a killer whale named Tilikum grabbed her by the pony tail and dragged her underwater violently. The medical examiner said she died of drowning and traumatic injuries.

Brancheau's husband is attending the hearing.