A Loro Parque press release says that it believes Alexis died as a result of asphyxia caused by compression of the chest. It seems that although they were training for a new Christmas special, the actual exercise in which the accident occurred was one that had been performed daily for the last three years, and involved both whale and trainer submerging together to gain speed to be propelled to the side of the pool side by side.
The whale, Keto, 14 years old and born in captivity in the USA, is said to be the largest and most experienced of the cetaceans at Loro Parque. On this occasion, however, he reacted unexpectedly and Alexis was pushed out of the way. Some sources have been saying that Keto was known to “play rough”, and had been known to challenge older whales. As such, he was not considered completely predictable, but on the other hand, Alexis himself was one of the most experienced trainers in Loro Parque, and it has been stressed repeatedly that Keto’s behaviour was not an attack. La Opinion
Originally Posted 24 December: A Loro Parque trainer has been accidentally killed by one of the whales during the first training session for a Christmas spectacular. The trainer was 29-year-old Alexis Martínez from Puerto de la Cruz, and the accident occurred at 10.30 am this morning. The other 7 trainers were also present in the training session. As far as can be determined at present, Alexis was hit by the whale, and his death was caused by drowning after being under water for several minutes before he was rescued.
He was immediately assisted by the specialist personnel at Loro Parque while Emergency Services were called, and amidst resuscitation attempts, was transferred to the Bell Vue Clinic by ambulance, where he was admitted with cardiac arrest. Obviously, an autopsy will be needed before the precise cause of death can be confirmed.
The news has distressed Loro Parque staff immensely, and the planned Orca show has been suspended for the moment. Alexis had worked at the Parque since 2004, where he was dearly loved by colleagues. Canarias24Horas