An 8-year-old girl was bitten by a dolphin she was feeding at SeaWorld in a frightening moment caught on camera by her father.
The incident occurred during a Nov. 21 visit to SeaWorld Orlando. Jillian Thomas was feeding the dolphins fish when she held up her paper tray and said it was empty. That’s when a dolphin lunged out of the water and sank its teeth into Jillian’s arm, pulling her toward the pool before letting go.
Her father, Jamie Thomas, uploaded the footage to YouTube on Saturday, posting, “We wanted to share this video so others can make an informed decision about whether or not the risks to yourself or your child are worth the experience.”
Thomas told WKMG-TV he quickly rushed to his daughter’s side, fearing she’d be pulled into the water.
“We think that attraction at SeaWorld is dangerous and it was traumatic for us to go through that event,” he said.
He said the bite caused three puncture wounds to Jillian’s arm, adding that she saw a doctor when the family returned home to Atlanta and was doing much better.
In a statement to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, SeaWorld said “nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our guests, employees and animals” and that it would “certainly take the situation seriously.”
“Educators and animal care staff were at the attraction when this happened and immediately connected with the family,” the statement said. “In addition, a member of our health services team was in the area at Dolphin Cove and quickly responded and treated the young girl. The video had not been previously shared with us and we have not a chance to assess it but certainly take the situation seriously.”