SeaWorld removing lifting floors from orca pools

Posted at 5:57 AM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 05:57:50-05

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- SeaWorld officials say they are getting rid of lifting floors in the company's killer whale pools that were installed after the death of trainer because they are no longer needed.

SeaWorld officials said Wednesday that the floors will be removed at its parks in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio.

The deep-water lifting floors were installed after trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by an orca in 2010. They were designed to lift trainers and orcas out of deep water in an emergency.

SeaWorld officials say training and medical care are now being conducted in shallower water, so the lifting floors are no longer needed.

SeaWorld has been in the crosshairs of animal rights activists since the release of the documentary "Blackfish." The movie chronicled the whale that caused Brancheau's death.