On November 15, fans across the globe celebrated an international event honoring the life of the Australian Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin.
Steve Irwin, the Australian conservationist who sported a blond mullet and consistently wore khakis, traipsed across the earth in search of the most wild and dangerous animals and allowed us to go along with him as he showed us his skills in handling animals that ordinary people might not ever be able to get close to. Viewers became used to his fun, exclamation of astonishment, “Crikey!”
Irwin died at age 44, after being attacked by a massive stingray off the coast of Australia near Queensland on September 4, 2006. Justin Lyons, Steve Irwin’s cameraman, was the only witness to his death and he captured the incident with his camera. Lyons however, does not believe the footage that killed his friend should ever be shared with the public.
The underwater cameraman told Australia’s Studio 10 that some of the details that had been made public regarding Irwin’s death were incorrect.
According to Lyons account of the incident, he had been filming a series called, “Ocean’s Deadliest,” with Irwin for about eight days. They were in chest-deep water and came across a “massive” 8-foot-wide stingray. Lyons said stingrays do not normally pose any kind of threat, no matter how big they are.
Steve Irwin and Lyons were discussing that kind of footage they had thus far and decided to go back under water for “one last shot” of Irwin standing behind the stingray before it swam off.
“I thought, ‘This is going to be a great shot,'” Lyons recalled.
Lyons said suddenly, and without warning, the stingray attacked.
“It started stabbing wildly with its tail,” Lyons recalled, “hundreds of strikes within a few seconds.”
Lyons said it happened so quickly that at first, he didn’t even realize that something was wrong.
“I panned with the camera as the stingray swam away. I didn’t even know it had caused any damage,” he said. “It wasn’t until I panned the camera back… Steve was standing in a huge pool of blood.”
Lyons said earlier reports claimed Irwin pulled the stingray’s barb out of his chest. He said that information is incorrect.
Lyons said, “It didn’t come out, Steve didn’t pull it out.”
Lyons said his first thought was that they needed to get out of the water before the blood attracted sharks. He also commented that Irwin thought it was possible the stingray had punctured his lung, but the damage was minimal.
According to Lyons, it only took a few seconds to get Irwin on an inflatable boat heading back to the main shore, but he was in extraordinary pain and they realized the damage to his heart was massive.
They tried to put pressure on the wound and keep Irwin calm.
“I was saying to him things like, ‘Think of your kids, Steve, hang on, hang on, hang on,'” 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.”
Irwin left behind a loving wife, two beautiful children and a world of fans who were shocked when they heard the news of the beloved conservationist’s passing. Bindi, Steve’s daughter, was 8-years-old at the time.
Bindi Irwin has been busy dancing on Dancing With The Stars this fall, but she did stop long enough to pay a touching tribute to her late father.
On Sunday, November 15, a 17-year-old Bindi shared a heartfelt photograph of her beloved father on Instagram. Bindi also shared the following tribute.
“The greatest Dad on Earth. November 15. Steve Irwin Day. Remembering everything Dad worked so hard to achieve and continuing his legacy. We miss you so much and are extremely proud to be carrying on in your footsteps. Yesterday we celebrated #SteveIrwinDay in Australia. Today, let’s celebrate together on the other side of the world, today on November 15. Thank you for joining us in making a difference. Wearing our khakis and remember everything Dad did to change the world.”
On Steve Irwin Day, people everywhere are encouraged to wear khakis or wear the khaki color to symbolize Steve’s mission to make a difference in wildlife conservation. People who participate in the celebration can also help raise money for the Australia Zoo.
Bindi also paid tribute to her beloved father on the 21st season of DWTS. And, in September, she dedicated her performance to a cover of “Every Breath You Take” to her father.
“It took a really long time to understand what actually happened,” Bindi said of her father’s death. “For the rest of my life, I’ll kind of feel like he’s going to come home.”
“No matter where I am in the world, this day means such a lot to me. My heart forever lives @AustraliaZoo – just like Dad’s always did,” she wrote.
[Photo by Getty Images]