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Crocodile Hunter's Cameraman Reveals Steve Irwin's Last Moments

Justin Lyons, Steve Irwin's cameraman details the last moments of the Crocodile Hunter's life.

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Steve Irwin, also known as the Crocodile Hunter, died eight years ago after he was stung by a stingray on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Irwin's cameraman of more than 15 years, Justin Lyons, for the first time spoke publicly about what happened that fateful day, speaking on Australian Talk Show Studio Ten Sunday.


According to Lyons, the two were gathering footage of the world's deadliest creatures out on the reef, looking for a tiger shark, when they spotted a "massive, 8-foot wide stingray" in chest deep water. After several successful shots with the stingray, they stopped to discuss a parting shot and Lyons directed Irwin to swim up behind the stingray so he could get a shot of the animal swimming away. The stingray got startled and, according to Lyons, propped on its front and began stabbing Irwin wildly with its stinger. "Hundreds of strikes in a few seconds," Lyons told the hosts of the show. Lyons said the attack happened so quickly that he didn't even know that it caused any damage until he panned the camera back and he saw Irwin standing in bloody water.

"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 and Steve was standing in a huge pool of blood that I realized something was wrong."

According to Lyons, the stingray punctured Irwin's chest like a knife through butter, and contrary to rumor, Irwin never attempted to pull it out as there was nothing to pull out. Lyons said he didn't know that the wounds were serious and had no idea that Irwin's heart got punctured. Irwin initially thought that his lung was punctured and Lyons thought they would be able to save him. But Irwin knew otherwise. According to Lyons, Irwin lapsed in and out of consciousness as he tried to save him and the last thing Irwin said was "I'm dying." Lyons performed CPR on Irwin for more than an hour before a helicopter arrived with a medic, who declared him dead within 10 seconds of seeing him.

Read REPTILES magazine's interview with Steve Irwin.