From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2008:
Stephen Claussen, 41, was killed in a May 17, 2008 light
plane crash in Englewood Township, New Jersey, along with pilot and
plane owner John Ambroult, 60, of Eastham, Massachusetts.
“Claussen, of Seattle, was best known for training Keiko, star of
the blockbuster movie Free Willy, for six years in preparation for
his release into the wild,” recalled Newark Star-Ledger staff
reporter Maryann Spoto. Claussen and crash survivors Jaclyn Toth
Brown, 28, and Juan Carlos Salinas, 43, of Mexico City, “worked
for Texas-based Geo-Marine Inc. gathering data for an environmental
impact statement the state Department of Environmental Protection
will use in assessing what effect offshore wind-powered turbines may
have on marine mammals and birds,” Spoto added. Raised in Bellvue,
Washington, Claussen volunteered in his teens at the Point Defiance
Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, “driving down before work at 4 a.m. to help
feed the animals,” wrote Seattle Times staff reporter Susan Gilmore.