Just awful stuff here: Steve Irwin’s longtime cameraman Justin Lyons spoke out this week for the first time since the Crocodile Hunter’s death on what exactly happened when Irwin was killed by a stingray eight years ago.
Lyons told Australia’s Studio 10 that Irwin had just ventured out into a shallow part of a Queensland reef to capture the final shot of a stingray swimming away, all while filming his latest nature documentary Ocean’s Deadliest. But the 2.4-meter ray unexpectedly struck out, possibly thinking Irwin’s shadow was a tiger shark. From the Sydney Morning Herald:
“I had the camera on, I thought this is going to be a great shot, and all of sudden it propped on its front and started stabbing wildly, hundreds of strikes in a few seconds,” Lyons said during an interview on Network Ten’s morning show Studio 10.
“I panned with the camera as the stingray swam away and I didn’t know it had caused any damage. It was only when I panned the camera back that I saw Steve standing in a huge pool of blood.”
“It’s a jagged barb and it went through his chest like hot butter.”
Irwin, unfortunately, never really had a shot after that.
Lyons said Irwin knew he was in trouble and believed the stingray had punctured his lung.
“He had a two-inch-wide injury over his heart with blood and fluid coming out of it and we had to get him back to the boat as fast as we can,” Lyons said.
“He obviously didn’t know it had punctured his heart … even if we had got him into an emergency ward at that moment we probably we wouldn’t have been able to save him.
“I was saying to him things like ‘think of your kids Steve, hang on, hang on, hang on’, and he calmly looked up at me and said ‘I’m dying’ and that was the last thing he said.”
Gah. Fucking terrible.
Lyons went on to say that the entire incident was caught on tape, because Irwin had a longtime policy to never let the camera stop rolling. Per request of the family, all copies of the video have been destroyed. Thank god: Irwin was a part of our childhoods and I’d prefer to remember him as the Crocodile Hunter, but more importantly, he was a dad. And no kid should see that.