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In one of the most horrifying attacks to take place at SeaWorld, a killer whale bit off a swimmer’s penis and held him underwater until he drowned.
The victim, Daniel Dukes, crept past the security and entered Tilikum's tank at the Floria Theme Park with tragic consequences.
Reports claimed that Daniel had waited until the park had closed before stripping down to his trunks. He was found mauled the next morning.
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An autopsy revealed that the 27-year-old had his scrotum gnawed off by Tilikum after being dragged down and held underwater by the powerful beast.
But it wasn't the first or last time Tilikum would kill. The orca was responsible for three human deaths before he passed away in 2017.
Tilikum claimed his first victim in 1991. Marine biology student Keltie Byrne was working part-time at Sealand of the Pacific in Canada when she was ripped apart in front of horrified onlookers.
Reports say that the student slipped into the pool and Tilikum grabbed her while two other orcas prevented park staff from helping her.
Daniel was the second victim in July 1999. While the third death occurred in 2010 during a SeaWorld show.
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Dawn Brancheau had bent over the tank to rub Tilikum when he suddenly dragged her into the water by her ponytail. The 40-year-old was shaken and thrown about as terrified guests were frantically removed by staff.
Reports claimed Dawn was scalped and had her arm bitten off during the attack.
Daniel's parents Michael and Patricia Duke filed a lawsuit for wrongful death but the suit was later withdrawn.
The park blamed Daniel for his own death, which they said was the result of a break-in and his unsupervised swim with Tilikum.
And the park has always maintained he died from "accidental drowning" and dismissed the incident as an example of aggression.
Seaworld bosses have also defended the welfare of their animals, saying they received "world-class care".
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However, Ric O'Barry, a marine mammal trainer claimed Dukes was likely pulled down into the water by Tilikum, who killed him out of "boredom".
"The thing about orcas – it's probably the only animal in the world that when they're born they will stay with their mother for their whole lifetime," he said.
"The first thing SeaWorld does is separate them from their family. That obviously causes frustration. Then they put them in these concrete boxes."
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O'Barry reckons Dukes was "fascinated" with Tilikum and broke in to swim with him.
"He went into the water; I think the whale probably pulled him down, held him underwater. I don't think they know how often we breathe.
"They're bored," he explained. "We literally bore them to death. It's like you living in the bathroom for your life."
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