An eight year-old girl was happily feeding dolphins at SeaWorld's Dolphin Cove when one of them lunged from out of the water and bit her hand.
Jillian Thomas, who was visiting the SeaWorld Orlando park with her parents from Georgia, was lined up with other children, feeding the dolphins from a food carton.
When she raised the carton in the air, the dolphin Jillian was feeding lunged out of the water and bit her. The animal left three puncture wounds in her hand about the size of dimes.
According to Jillian's mom, Amy Thomas, a park employee came by, oblivious that a little girl nearly had her hand mangled by aquatic animal.
"The second it happened, one of the employees came over to Jillian to ask her if she had a positive experience and realized she was bleeding."
Hi little girl, did you have a terrific time feeding the dolph...OMYGAWD!!!!
ABC's Good Morning America had Jillian on their show this morning to
exploit her for ratings ask her about the attack.
It really, really hurt," she told them. "When the dolphin saw [carton feeder], it leaped at me and bit me, ate the carton."
That's some hungry dolphin, though.
For her part, Jillian understands that the dolphin was just being dolphiny when he lunged at her and almost took off her arm.
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.
SeaWorld released a statement following the incident:
"Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our guests, employees and animals. Educators and animal care staff were at the attraction when this happened and immediately connected with the family."
Her parents, however, remain unimpressed. Jillian's father, Jamie Thomas, said he was crippled with fear when he saw it all unfold.
"The first thing I thought was I would have to jump in the water and save my daughter's life," Thomas said. "I literally thought she was going to be pulled into the water."
Jillian's parents say they posted the video on YouTube because they feel visitors may not realize that feeding the dolphins can be dangerous.
They say that dolphins are Jillian's favorite animal, and that they visited Dolphin Cove twice while at the theme park. Feeding the dolphins cost $7, which might be the real horror in this story.
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