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The Orca Keto Did Attack and Kill Alexis Martinez,

Loro Parque Trainer:

The forensic medical report certifies that the body of the
young man exhibited the bite marks of the whale
OCTOBER 3, 2010

Although Tenerife zoo Loro Parque is still trying to clarify one of its
press releases after the tragic event that “the animal’s behavior did
not correspond with how these animals attack in the wild, but rather
with how they displace”, the forensic medical report and the
prosecution of the case, which is still open, speak of the “aggression”
and the “attack” of the orca “Keto”, as the cause of death of trainer
Alexis Martinez this past December 24th. The autopsy conducted on
the body of the young man details various fractures, injuries, and even
the bite marks of the animal, which was also ruled out “according to
preliminary data” by the park, located in the municipality of Puerto de
la Cruz,

The forensic medical report stemming from the autopsy of the body of
Alexis Martinez, which ABC had access to, attributes the characteristic
of “violent” to the death of the young trainer, 29 years old, and that
the injuries inflicted by the orca “Keto”, one of four operating at Loro
Parque, are the cause of death. According to the analysis, the
immediate cause of death was a “pulmonary edema”, while the
fundamental cause of death was “mechanical asphyxiation due to
compression and crushing of the thoracic abdomen with injuries to the
vital organs”.

The examination not only reveals multiple fractures – “the entire

anterior rib cage”, sternum, ribs – and injuries – “bruised lungs with
rips in the pleura”, “liver with a wide tear” — but also the bite marks of
the animal: “The rounded marks of the external exam are compatible
with the teeth marks of an orca. The morphology may be partially
reduced due to the wetsuit worn by personnel during the work day”,
cautions the report. On December 26, two days after the incident, the
zoo distributed a written statement in which they invoked the
“preliminary data”, and stated that the body “did not present signs of
violence, nor hitting or biting, being the lack of oxygen which appears
to be the cause of death, ruling out an attack.”

However, the preliminary autopsy report, dated the same day as the
death of the trainer, already confirmed that it was a “violent death”,
and this was corroborated by the subsequent forensic analysis. Three
days later, a new statement from Loro Parque, which then speaks to
the injuries and the violence of the event, explains that “at the
conclusion of the exercise, Alexis was pushed violently by the orca due
to an unexpected reaction from the animal.” In addition, it also states
that the trainer of marine mammals “suffered injuries due to
compression of the thoracic area, and thus lack of oxygen is the most
probable cause of death.”

In this same report, Loro Parque states that “in reviewing the details it
shows that the behavior of the animal did not correspond with how
these marine mammals attack their prey in the wild, but rather with
how they displace.” Contradicting this, the report of the ambulance
personnel of the Servicio de Urgencias Canario which transported
Alexis to the hospital – part of which was included in the forensic
medical report – describes a “man of 29 years old, who is in cardio
respiratory arrest after suffering an attack from an orca.” Later in the
report they surmise that the zoo trainer “suffered injuries from one of
the orcas that affected the vital organs, grave injuries that resulted in

The witnesses:
Also, and as has already been known by this newspaper, the
statements of the witnesses of the event, i.e., the rest of the team of
trainers at Loro Parque, recount that Alexis was “attacked” by the
animal at the moment when he tried to leave the pool. Among the
information provided by the colleagues of the young man that form
part of the prosecution’s case is that it appears the “the animal did not
want to perform the third exercise” of the routine and exhibited a
“strange” (or unexpected) behavior.

Since the zoo resumed the show, just a few days after the death of the
trainer, the trainers have stopped diving into the pool. Just two months
later, an orca from Sea World Orlando – to whom the specimens of Loro
Parque belong - also attacked and ended the life of trainer Dawn
Brancheau, who had befriended Alexis during her visit to the zoo in the
north of Tenerife.

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