Experts have been placing blame on family members of a 6-year-old girl after a sea lion pulled her into a British Columbia harbor by her dress. But her father says the family is essentially blameless. The man, identified only by his last name, Lau, tells CBC News that his daughter and her grandparents, residents of Vancouver, weren’t feeding bread crumbs to sea lions in Richmond on Saturday as a student who recorded the incident previously suggested. Rather, “there was somebody beside them that was trying to feed them,” says Lau, who was “disturbed” by the reaction to the viral video. He says his daughter simply “went to the front to try to see the sea lions, to get a closer look,” and ended up a bit too close. “She has taken that lesson in a hard way,” he says.
Thankfully, her grandfather didn’t hesitate to jump into the water after the sea lion bit her dress and pulled her in, Lau says. “If he had one- or two-second doubt about that, my girl could have been gone by then. That reaction makes him a hero.” Officials at the Vancouver Aquarium previously warned the girl would need antibiotics if the sea lion broke skin; Lau says she suffered a shallow wound to her lower body and was immediately taken to a hospital, where she received antibiotics. Lau adds that family members have spoken with aquarium officials about further treatment. The aquarium confirmed to CTV News that it was in touch with the family regarding treatment of a “superficial wound.”