Cameraman Details Steve Irwin's Death & Last Words
By Raphael Chestang
Justin Lyons, the cameraman who was with Steve "The Crocodile Hunter" Irwin during his final moments, broke his silence concerning Irwin's death in an interview with Australian morning show Studio 10 on Sunday.
"I'm dying" were the last words of the 44-year-old TV host after being struck several times by a "massive, eight-foot-wide stingray" eight years ago in Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
"I panned with the camera as the stingray swam away," said Lyons, who worked with Irwin for 15 years. "I didn't even know it had caused any damage. 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."
Lyons reasoned that the stingray probably mistook Irwin's shadow for a tiger shark and tried to defend itself. He described one of the fatal blows as going "through [Irwin's] chest like hot butter."
"He had a about a two-inch injury over his heart with blood-fluid coming out of it," said Lyons. "He was in extraordinary pain. [The stingrays] have got venom on their barb, so I'm sure it was excruciatingly painful."
Lyons managed to get Irwin back into the boat, and performed CPR on him for over an hour, but the Irwin was pronounced dead just seconds after medics arrived at the scene.
The entire event was captured on camera, as per Irwin's agreement with his crew to keep rolling no matter what, but Lyons firmly believes that the footage should never be shown and isn't sure that it still exists.
"I don't know what's happened to it and I hope it would never see the light of day," said Lyons.