A WOMAN who was savaged by Shamu the SeaWorld orca has revealed what it was really like when the killer whale tried to drown her.
Anne Godsey found herself jammed between the jaws of the two-tonne killer whale at the aquatic park in San Diego.
Anne Godsey was savaged by Shamu when she was 22 years oldCredit: YouTube
The former SeaWorld secretary had been convinced to partake in a publicity stunt for the San Diego parkCredit: YouTube
The killer whale clamped its ferocious jaws onto terrified Anne’s legCredit: YouTube
The then-22-year-old, who worked as a secretary for the conglomerate, was convinced to ride Shamu in swimwear to promote the arrival of SeaWorld’s first orca.
But the park’s plan for a scantily clad publicity stunt went horribly wrong when the huge marine mammal began to attack her.
Anne had excitedly clamoured into the pool with Shamu when the young orca began to fling her around “like a rag doll”.
During the harrowing incident, captured on camera in 1971, the now 73-year-old was “dunked” by the beast after being thrown off its back.
Recounting her ordeal to CBS News, she explained: “I fell into a trough of the water and she just turned around on a dime and grabbed me in her mouth.”
The disturbing footage shows Anne desperately trying to stay afloat as the killer whale violently thrashes around in the water.
She continued: “I was basically sitting on her bottom jaw with the teeth on my thighs. I was hanging onto the top of her head.”
As she fought for breath, the former SeaWorld employee was repeatedly pulled to the depths by Shamu – who kept a relentless grip on her leg.
Anne said: “I was so afraid I was going to drown. She would dive and go down and I didn’t know how long she would be down there.”
The brave bikini-clad worker struggled to break free from Shamu’s grasp as her horrified colleagues watched on helplessly.
But the survivor eventually managed to grab hold of a long pole one of the workers had extended to her, before frantically dragging herself towards the edge of the pool.
Anne then clung onto the wall for dear life while employees played a dangerous game of tug of war with her leg – that was still stuck in Shamu’s mouth.
She was eventually dragged to safety after the terrifying attack over 50 years ago – and miraculously lived to tell the tale.
The 73-year-old added: “There was a lot of blood. But there was no pain, the water was cold and I was in shock for quite a while.”
I was so afraid I was going to drown. She would dive and go down and I didn’t know how long she would be down there.
Anne needed around 200 stitches to close up the countless cuts and puncture wounds she had sustained while trapped in the orca’s jaws.
In the wake of the haunting incident, she discovered that Shamu had never been straddled by a female – or ridden without someone wearing a wetsuit.
She was left dealing with a “lot of anger” and hoped that her traumatic experience had served as a warning for SeaWorld.
Shamu died just four months after attacking Anne – but her spot in the show was quickly replaced by other captured orcas.
SeaWorld went on to trademark the name Shamu to use for other performing killer whales, many of which endured a similar tragic life.
Since Anne’s near-death experience, there have been more than 30 incidents involving captive orcas which have resulted in human injury or death.
One of the most prominent cases was that of Dawn Brancheau, a veteran animal trainer, who dreamed of working at SeaWorld Florida.
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But she was tragically killed by an orca in front of horrified tourists in February 2010, after being dragged to the depths of the tank.
The 40-year-old was at the mercy of Tilikum, a 26-year-old male, who tossed her around in his mouth and drowned her.
Among the horror injuries she suffered was a fractured neck, a broken jaw, and a dislocated elbow and knee.
In wake of her death, Anne paid tribute to the late trainer – knowing all too well she could have met the same outcome.
She said: “My very first response was ‘Oh my gosh’. You know I don’t know Dawn, but I just felt so horrible for her.
“It hit me like a ton of bricks. I feel for her family”
In response to Dawn’s passing, SeaWorld announced they were ending their breeding program following years of campaigners railing against them.
However, surviving killer whales still live there today.
On August 4, SeaWorld San Diego orca Nakai passed away after allegedly being confined with other bullying whales for 20 years.
Shocking footage of the animals attacking each other at the aquatic park then emerged, sparking further calls from animal rights groups for the firm to be reprimanded.
Anne later discovered the orca had never been ridden by a female or without wearing a wetsuitCredit: YouTube
Recent footage of a bloody clash between killer whales at the San Diego park has emerged
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