A Steve Irwin death video exists showing the moment the famed naturalist was killed by a stingray, but his friend and longtime cameraman said it will never find its way to the internet.
Justin Lyons, the cameraman who filmed Irwin during that fateful day in September 2006, is opening up for the first time since Irwin’s death. In a lengthy interview, Lyons shared details of Steve Irwin’s death and his final words, and also revealed the fate of the video that showed his death.
The pair were together filming scenes for a series called Ocean’s Deadliest on the Great Barrier Reef, searching for a tiger shark. Instead they found an 8-foot stingray, which ironically mistook Irwin for the dangerous shark, its main predator.
“I had the camera on. I thought – this is going to be a great shot, fantastic,” Lyons said. “All of a sudden it propped on its front and started stabbing wildly with its tail, hundreds of strikes in a few seconds.”
The attack happened so quickly that Steve Irwin didn’t understand the severity of the injury until he had gotten back into the small boat the two shared, Lyons said. At first Irwin thought that he just suffered a punctured lung, but soon realized that he had a gaping hole in his chest.
“It’s a jagged, sharp barb and it went through his chest like a hot knife through butter,” Lyons said.
Though Lyons performed CPR for more than an hour, long after Irwin showed signs of life, he said the television host seemed resigned to his fate.
“He just sort of calmly looked up at me and said, ‘I’m dying.’ And that was the last thing he said,” Lyons said.
Lyons said he has made sure the Steve Irwin death video has never seen the light of day, and never will.
“Out of respect for his family, I would say never.”
Ever since that day, the internet has seemed obsessed with finding the Steve Irwin death video. Within days of his death fake videos began circulating purporting to show Irwin’s death footage, including one YouTube video with more than 8 million views.
Lyons said he has ensured that those with a morbid curiosity to see the Steve Irwin death video will never have the chance, though did not say for certain if he destroyed the footage.