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Dolphin strikes trainer during mishap at Miami Seaquarium show

The trainer was able to swim to safety. The dolphin was not hurt.

MIAMI — Video drawing attention online shows a mishap involving a dolphin and a trainer Saturday at Miami Seaquarium.

CBS Miami says it happened Saturday before a crowd of onlookers at the Flipper Dolphin Show. The 38-acre oceanarium told CBS the dolphin and trainer "accidentally collided" in the pool while "performing a routine behavior" about 10 minutes into the show.

"This was an uncomfortable interaction for both of them and the dolphin reacted by breaking away from the routine and striking the trainer,” Miami Seaquarium wrote in a statement obtained by CBS.

Video obtained by 10 Tampa Bay showed the trainer swim to safety and climb out of the water.

According to television station WPLG, the trainer was taken to a hospital. CBS says the animal care provider was not seriously hurt.

The dolphin, who WPLG said was named Sundance, was not hurt.

Marine Mammal Scientist Naomi Rose, with the nonprofit Animal Welfare Institute, reviewed the footage and told Newsweek that although the video isn't close enough to say with certainty what happened, she believes it's likely that the dolphin "rammed the trainer."

"[This] is more concerning—ramming is done with the rostrum, which is very strong and rigid, and is how dolphins repel sharks. They can break ribs or kill people doing this..." Rose told Newsweek. "I say this because the trainer seemed to be moved through the water very rapidly by an external force—there was that sudden rise out of the water (as if the dolphin came up underneath the trainer) and then that sharp left turn, which a human wouldn't be able to execute by swimming."

This is not the first time Miami Seaquarium has made headlines in recent months.

Earlier this year, Miami Seaquarium's new owners reached a deal with federal regulators that means 56-year-old orca Lolita will no longer be publicly displayed. For decades, animal rights advocates have complained about the size of the 20-foot-deep tank that has housed Lolita, who was originally captured from the wild.


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