The family of a SeaWorld trainer who died after being attacked by a killer whale is speaking out -- on behalf of the whale.
Diane Gross, the older sister of 40-year-old Dawn Brancheau, says the trainer loved the whales like children and would not want anything to happen to the one who attacked her. Brancheau drowned in the killer whale's tank Wednesday.
"We as a family feel that she had one of the most awesome jobs in the world and we loved watching her do it," Gross told The Chicago Tribune in a telephone interview late Wednesday.
"This is an extraordinarily difficult time for SeaWorld parks and our team members. Nothing is more important than the safety of our employees, guests and the animals entrusted to our care," SeaWorld Orlando General Manager Dan Brown said.
"We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the trainer and will do everything possible to assist them in this difficult time," he added.
The Associated Press says Brancheau was already in the tank when the whale pushed her under the water. But a witness at Shamu Stadium says the whale came out of the water and pulled her in.
Park officials have not yet decided what will happen to the whale, which has been involved in two previous deaths.