Hundreds Turn Out for SeaWorld Trainer's Funeral

Grew up in Indiana

Hundreds of mourners turned out Monday for the funeral for a veteran SeaWorld trainer killed by one of the park's orcas.

Some of the grieved didn't even know 40-year-old Dawn Brancheau but felt a connection after the story of her death shocked the nation.

Family and friends were joined by dignitaries like Comptroller Dan Hynes and Chicago Alderman Ed Burke to wish her farewell at St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel.

The scene was similar to her wake, when more than 1,200 mourners and well-wishers lined up for Brancheau's at the Chicago church.

Brancheau died Wednesday in Florida after rubbing a 22-foot, 12,000-pound orca named Tilikum. The animal grabbed her ponytail and pulled her into the water in front of about 20 spectators.

Family members say she died doing what she loved.

"It was her dream job since she was 9 years old,"  her sister Diane Grosstold the Northwest Indiana Times.

The medical examiner says Brancheau likely died of traumatic injuries and drowning.

Brancheau was married and didn't have children. She will be buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Alsip, Ill.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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