Seaworld introduces safety vest

SeaWorld Orca Trainers Begin Using Safety Vests

Four years after an orca trainer was drowned by a killer whale, SeaWorld has introduced a new safety vest for trainers.

Starting Monday, any trainer working with an orca must wear a five-pound nylon vest that can be easily inflated and provide oxygen in case of an emergency.

The vests apparently took over three years to develop.

The safety vests are designed to give at-risk trainers a few extra minutes of breathing until emergency services can arrive.

Minutes that could have saved the life of trainer Dawn Brancheau, who was dragged underwater and dismembered by a massive killer whale named Tilikum back in 2010.

Her death prompted an investigation that found that SeaWorld violated a federal workplace safety law, and became the subject of the widely popular 2013 documentary "Blackfish."

SeaWorld's curator of animal training said that the court ruling and documentary are not causes for the new vests, and that the timing of the new safety devices is purely coincidental.

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