Girl recalls painful dolphin bite at SeaWorld - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Girl recalls painful dolphin bite at SeaWorld

Updated:

ATLANTA (AP) - An 8-year-old Georgia girl says it "really, really hurt" when a dolphin snatched her hand in its mouth while she fed the animal as part of an attraction at SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla.

Jillian Thomas of Alpharetta said she raised the paper carton she was holding, and "when the dolphin saw that, it leaped at me and bit me, ate the carton."

"It really, really hurt," Jillian said in an interview Monday with ABC's "Good Morning America."

Jillian suffered three puncture wounds to her hand. Her father Jamie Thomas, who was with her at the theme park when the dolphin lunged from its pool Nov. 21, described his reaction as: "Instant fear."

After his initial thought that he might have to dive into the tank to rescue his daughter, a SeaWorld employee offered to help.

"They asked if she wanted first aid, and I said 'she's bleeding' so yes, we want first aid," he recalled.

Jillian held two dolphin stuffed animals as she recounted the ordeal, saying she hoped the dolphin didn't get sick from eating the paper carton. She's prayed for the animal at night, she said.

The paper cartons are used to hold fish children and others feed the dolphins. Jillian's parents say park-goers may not realize the risk involved in feeding dolphins, which is why they posted video of the Nov. 21 bite to YouTube, so parents can decide for themselves whether it is safe.

SeaWorld officials said in a statement that the safety of their guests is paramount, and they are taking the situation seriously.

"Educators and animal care staff are always on-site at this area, monitoring all interactions and are committed to guest safety," SeaWorld said in the statement.

"Educators and animal care staff were at the attraction when this happened and immediately connected with the family," SeaWorld 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."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by WorldNow

Fox 8 WVUE-TV
Louisiana Media Company, LLC.
1025 S. Jefferson Davis Parkway
New Orleans, LA 70125

General Number: (504) 486-6161
News Tips: (504) 483-1503
News Room Fax: (504) 483-1543

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WVUE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
WVUE's Public Inspection File can now be accessed online. To access the online public inspection file click here: https://stations.fcc.gov/station-profile/wvue-dt.