• Group says OSHA killer whale attack investigator spotted with 'Blackfish' crew members


    ORLANDO, Fla. - New questions surround the lead investigator in the federal probe into SeaWorld following the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau.

    The questions concern newly released photos that show an Occupational Safety and Health Administration employee posing with the cast and crew of the documentary.

    "Blackfish," a documentary that is critical of how SeaWorld treats its killer whales.

    The OSHA investigation led to SeaWorld being forced to take trainers out of the water during its whale shows and pay thousands of dollars in fines.

    On Tuesday OSHA officials said they are looking into the woman who led the agency's investigation into SeaWorld.

    Lara Padgett spent months investigating the death of Dawn Brancheau in 2010 when she was attacked by an orca named Tilikum.

    Pictures that surfaced on a theme park blog show Padgett hanging out with the cast and filmmakers of the "Blackfish" film.

    In a statement to Channel 9 Eyewitness News OSHA representatives said, "Allegations involving employee conduct are taken seriously and OSHA is investigating."

    The blog alleges Padgett wasn't just taking pictures but that she traveled around the country and attended movie premieres with the cast.

    SeaWorld sent a statement to Eyewitness News Tuesday evening that said. "We are aware of OSHA inspector Lara Padgett's affiliations with the cast of 'Blackfish.' As we've said all along, the film is misleading, inaccurate and agenda-driven. To build its anti-captivity narrative, it relies on the accounts of people who are animal activists. Ms. Padgett appears to be one of them."

    Channel 9's Myrt Price checked Padgett's Facebook page and noted that "Blackfish" is one of the movies that she liked.

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