Family of SeaWorld Trainer Killed by Whale Speaks Out

INSIDE EDITION talks to the family of Dawn Brancheau, the SeaWorld trainer who was killed by a killer whale last year, about the whale being put back into the performance ring.

The family of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau is speaking for the first time since last year's tragedy where she was dragged to her death by Tilikum, the killer whale.

Dawn's mother said, "My heart is broken and any parent who goes through this would know."

"She just liked animals," she added.

"It came natural to her," said Dawn's sister, Diane Gross.

The family is speaking as Tilly returns to shows at SeaWorld.

INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd asked, "How does the family feel about Tili being back in the water again?"

"We're just entrusting SeaWorld that they're doing what's best for Tilly. Dawn loved Tilly. We're not experts. We're really not qualified to say should this happen or shouldn't it. It is hard for us to see on the news because it just relives that horrific accident," said Gross.

The family told INSIDE EDITION that Dawn had wanted to be an aquatic animal trainer since she was just 9 years old when she saw a show at SeaWorld.

Now her loved ones have started a foundation in her name to inspire other children to follow their dreams. The first event is a 5 kilometer run on Dawn's birthday, April 16th, starting at SeaWorld Orlando, where Dawn lost her life.

Boyd asked, "There's no animosity on your end toward SeaWorld after the accident?"

"That's where Dawn chose to spend her career, so at this point, no. We recognize that an accident occurred. It's an extremely unfortunate accident, but at this point we're trying to move forward in a positive way and focus on how Dawn lived and who she was," said Dawn's brother Tom Loverde.

Gross said, "For the rest of our lives, we're going to bring light to her, what a wonderful person she was. She inspired us and so many people. Even her nieces and nephews. She was a friend to them. They didn't just lose an aunt, they lost their friend."

For information on the foundation set up by the family, go to