TERRIFYING footage captures the moment a “sex-crazed” SeaWorld orca viciously mauled his trainer, throwing him around like a “cheap pool toy”.
Thousands of horrified spectators watched as the killer whale launched a savage attack on his trainer Steve Aibel.
The SeaWorld show in San Antonio, Texas began on July 27, 2004, like any other.
But it ended in shocking fashion when normally-gentle orca Kyuquot – offspring of notorious SeaWorld killer whale Tilikum – turned on Steve.
SeaWorld has since changed their policies and trainers are no longer able to swim with the massive mammals.
Thankfully, the train escaped with uninjured and the show, The Shamu Adventure, was cancelled for the rest of the day.
SeaWorld always insists their orcas receive world class care and deny they are aggressive – with the animals receiving daily “positive reinforcement” along with support from hundreds of care specialists.
In the clip, the massive killer whale stops obeying its trainer’s commands, body-slamming the helpless man time and time again.
Every time the trainer tries to come up for air, he is forced back under the water by the enormous creature.
One spectator watching on said Kyuquot also tried to take a bite out of Steve – his trainer whom he had known for 10 years.
Helpless SeaWorld staff watched on as the attack continued for several minutes before Steve was somehow able to climb out.
Kyuquot seemed frustrated after watching Steve escape, creating huge splashes in the water.
Steve later blamed the attack on Kyuquot’s “adolescent hormones”.
Veterinarians believed that the whale was nearing breeding age and may have felt threatened by the presence of the trainer.
Park visitor Justin Lecourias, who witnessed the attack, said it was clear beforehand that something was wrong.
The whale was jumping all over the place, then it tried to take a bite out of the guy
“The whale was jumping all over the place, then it tried to take a bite out of the guy,” he said.
Miraculously, Steve was able to climb out of the pool unhurt following the attack and spoke about his experiences.
He said: “17 years of training with animals and I’ve never had an experience like that.”
Steve said he had tried desperately to remain calm throughout the attack, which he believed had saved his life.
“It looked like Ky lost a little bit of focus,” he said. “I wasn’t frightened. I think that by being calm throughout the process it helped to calm Ky down.”
He added that Kyuquot was approaching breeding age, which could have been to blame for his erratic behaviour.
In the wake of the attack, Kyuquot was allegedly banned from any future work with trainers.
Another angle which appears to be of the same attack features screams from the crowds as Steve can be seen grappling with the orca.
The video – dubbed over for TV show “Top 20 Most Shocking Moments” – features the dramatic announcer describing trainer as being tossed around like a “cheap pool toy”.
Members of the crowd can be heard exclaiming “holy s***” and saying “cover your eyes kids”.
It has been alleged that a number of the adult male orcas at SeaWorld San Antonio were suffering from conditions brought on by a lack of space to swim and extended time spent above the surface of the water.
In 2015, wildlife vet Dr Heather Rally visited the park and found that a number of the killer whales had collapsed dorsal fins, a condition rarely found in the wild.
She also identified rake marks on several of the six orcas at San Antonio and found most had some form of dental trauma.
Both are unusual to find in wild killer whales, which implied the animals were fighting due to frustration.
Killer whales in the wild do not target humans as prey, and “there are no documented cases of killer whales attacking a human in the wild,” according to the American Cetacean Society.
Kyuquot’s behaviour was sadly not an isolated incident involving a captive orca.
In 1987, “jealous” killer whale Orky crushed a trainer at SeaWorld San Diego, in horrifying scenes captured on video.
The sickening clip shows, Orky, a 12,000-pound male orca, crushing SeaWorld trainer John Sillick under its weight as a terrified crowd watches on.
Sillick, 26, almost died, suffering a fractured pelvis, femur, and ribs, and was left in a wheelchair following the gruesome incident on November 21, 1987.
In the years following, SeaWorld has greatly changed its practices and stopped holding such shows.
A SeaWorld spokesperson previously told The Sun Online: “Trainers have not been in the water training or performing with killer whales at SeaWorld since 2012.”
They went on: “Our hundreds of veterinarians and care specialists provide world-class medical care.
“None of the killer whales in our care live a solitary life and they participate in positive reinforcement sessions daily, engaging in a range of different activities to ensure they receive plenty of physical and mental exercise.
“Additionally, the study of orcas in our care by our scientists and third-party organisations has directly informed the world’s knowledge of and ability to protect whales in the wild.”
The Sun Online has approached SeaWorld for comment.