Orca struck, dragged SeaWorld trainer under

ORLANDO

Orca hit, dragged trainer under

A SeaWorld trainer initially managed to get free and tried to swim to the surface after she was dragged underwater by a killer whale, but the orca thwarted her attempts by striking her at least twice, according to a final death report released Wednesday.

Dawn Brancheau, 40, had been lying on her stomach on a cement slab, nose-to-nose with the killer whale, Tilikum, when her long hair floated on the water into the orca's mouth and she was then dragged to her death at the end of a Feb. 24 Dine with Shamu show, according to the report from Orange County Sheriff's Office homicide detectives.

LAKE BUENA VISTA

Disney boat crash injures woman

A woman was injured in a boating accident at Walt Disney World after her boat went under a Disney ferry.

According to an Orange County sheriff's report, Barbara Wormald, 61, was treated for a collapsed lung, fractured ribs and back pain after becoming wedged between the vessels. The report says Wormald and her husband rented a two-seater boat Thursday near the Treehouse Villas.

Ferry boat captain William Green said he saw the boat driving recklessly and put the ferry in reverse upon impact. Charges are pending against Wormald. Disney declined comment.

FORT LAUDERDALE

Exec charged in Ponzi scheme

A former executive at disbarred attorney Scott Rothstein's law firm in Florida is pleading not guilty to charges that she played a key role in his $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. Debra Villegas entered the plea Wednesday in federal court. Prosecutors say Villegas helped Rothstein prepare fake court settlements used to lure investors. Prosecutors and Villegas' attorney said she is cooperating with investigators. The 42-year-old Villegas could get 10 years in prison if convicted. Rothstein, 47, pleaded guilty and faces up to 100 years in prison at a June 9 sentencing.

Associated Press

Orca struck, dragged SeaWorld trainer under 04/29/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 29, 2010 12:00am]

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