Justin Lyons, the intrepid cameraman present at the death of Steve Irwin, has spoken publicly for the first time since the khaki conservationist’s death in 2006, describing how Irwin was stabbed hundreds of times in a few seconds by the jagged barb of an eight foot wide stingray during the filming of Ocean’s Deadliest in far north Queensland.
Lyons appeared on Studio 10 today to discuss the infamous incident, wherein “[a stingray] started stabbing widely with its tail. Hundreds of strikes in a few seconds. It started to attack him, I panned with the camera as the stingray swam away — 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 realised something was wrong.”
He moves on to describe with unnerving, visceral clarity how the jagged barb “went through [Irwin’s] chest like a knife through hot butter” causing “a two-inch injury over his heart with blood coming out of it”, and how upon returning to shore, despite administering first aid, “He just sort of calmly looked up at me and said, ‘I’m dying’. And that was the last thing he said… Those were his final words.”
The interview concludes with Lyons confirming that the attack, the application of CPR for over an hour and other attempts to revive Irwin were all caught on camera per his wishes that any and every accident be caught on film, adding that the footage – provided it still exists – should “never see the light of day… Never. Out of respect for his family, I would say never.”
Meanwhile, three days prior, this.
Photo: Ryan Pierse via Getty