ORLANDO, Fla. – A video captured by a Tampa Bay-area family visiting SeaWorld Orlando showing a pilot whale at SeaWorld struggling to get back into the water during a show has gone viral.
The video, posted on YouTube on July 20 by user Carlo De Leonibus, shows the short-finned pilot whale-a member of the dolphin family- stuck for about 10 minutes without SeaWorld employees help as the crowd appeared to become angered. The cast members and trainers from the show had to leave the stage because of lightning.
WTSP reports De Leonibus, 33, and his wife Ashley had brought their daughter to SeaWorld to celebrate the girl's 11th birthday.
"She loves dolphins. And that's exactly why we went to SeaWorld," De Leonibus told WTSP.
De Lonibus wrote on the YouTube video description that he went to report the pilot whale in distress and that a SeaWorld employee told him it was normal.
"The crowd was in a rage, in an uproar. Some of them were stomping their feet. The gentleman behind me threatened to go protest. He was really upset," De Leonibus told WTSP.
De Leonibus wrote on the YouTube video description that after he stopped recording the video an additional 10-15 minutes went by before two dolphin trainers pushed it back in. He also said his daughter was disturbed by what she saw and that she wanted to dedicate herself to helping wildlife.
SeaWorld told WTSP in a statement that the "pilot whales come out on the ledge all the time and always get back into the deeper water without any problem," adding that the whale was never in danger.