Steve Irwin, the Australian wildlife expert popularly known as “The Crocodile Hunter,” was killed in an accident while snorkeling in the Batt Reef in 2006. The only witness to the incident was Justin Lyons, the cameraman who was filming Irwin when he was stabbed by a stingray. Irwin was loved by many, and was known for sporting a mullet, wearing khakis, and exclaiming “Crikey!” The world was shocked to learn of his death.
In an exclusive interview with Australia’s Studio 10, Lyons recounted the events that led to the Irwin’s sudden passing. He also said that some of the details that were made public at the time of his death were not factual. Lyons captured Irwin’s death on tape, but refused to share it with the public.
On September 2006, Lyons and Irwin were together filming for the documentary Ocean’s Deadliest. On the day that Irwin died, the two were looking for tiger sharks when they stumbled upon a massive stingray that measured about 8-foot wide. They then decided to film the stingray to get footage for another project. They weren’t deterred by the stingray’s size, as they are typically docile creatures.
While getting one last shot, the stingray suddenly attacked Irwin. “It started stabbing wildly with its tail,” recalled Lyons, “hundreds of strikes within a few seconds.”
Everything happened so quickly that Lyons was not able to register the events that transpired until he saw Irwin in a pool of blood. “It wasn’t until I panned the camera back. Steve was standing in a huge pool of blood,” he said.
Lyons was not aware of the damage done by the stingray. He was only quick to think of getting out of the water to avoid attracting sharks with Irwin’s blood. He also said that Irwin didn’t seem to know the extent of his wounds as he kept on saying, “It punctured me lung.”
Within a few seconds, the crew carried Irwin on a boat that brought them to the main vessel that they used for shooting. There, it became clearer that “The Crocodile Hunter” was in the last moments of his life.
“I was saying to him things like, ‘Think of your kids, Steve, hang on, hang on, hang,'” he said.
“He calmly looked up at me and said, ‘I’m dying.’ And that was the last thing he said… those were his final words.”
Lyon also said that another cameraman who was there at the time of Irwin’s death kept filming, as they had a deal with Irwin to never stop filming in case he is injured. Lyons does not know where the tape is now, but says that he never wants anyone to view its contents.
Image via YouTube