He's quick to point out that these incidents, though harrowing, could not be blamed on the whales. Rather, he said, it's the conditions of captivity, the boredom, the havoc that being in a tank for years on end can wreak on their mental states.
What's more, Hargrove, who also worked at SeaWorld San Antonio and SeaWorld San Diego parks as well as a park not owned by SeaWorld in Antibes called Marineland, watched his colleagues get hurt by whales. He saw one young trainer's arm get snapped in half by a misbehaving whale, and another nearly crushed between a whale and a concrete stage. For two of them, these incidents would end in tragedy.
Right back in the water
In 2009, an orca owned by SeaWorld named Keto killed 25-year-old trainer Alexis Martinez while on loan to a park called Loro Parque in Spain.
"When Brian [another trainer] dove in, Alexis was just on bottom of pool, dead," Hargrove said. "When they pulled him from the water, blood was coming from every orifice. The autopsy report showed that he suffered massive internal injuries, both his lungs collapsed. [Back at SeaWorld] none of these things were communicated to us."