Justin Lyons, the cameraman who was with Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin in the final moments of his life, recently recounted what exactly happened in the incident that caused his death.

Steve Irwin's Final Moments Revealed

In his interview with Australian talk show Studio Ten, Lyons said that on the day of Irwin's death, they had been in the process of filming a documentary feature called Ocean's Deadliest in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. They couldn’t find any Tiger Sharks, but when they came across a typically docile stingray, the two decided to shoot some footage for another project.

“This one was extraordinarily large. It was 8-foot-wide. Massive,” said Lyons. “Stingrays are normally very calm. If they don’t want you to be around them, they’ll swim away. They’re very fast swimmers.”


Believing they weren’t facing any danger, Lyons and Irwin hopped out of the inflatable they’d headed out on and decided to get some shots of the massive sea creature.

“I had the camera on. I thought this was going to be a great shot. It’s going to be in the [documentary] for sure. Fantastic,” revealed Lyons. “And then, all of the sudden it propped on its front and started stabbing wildly with its tale. Hundreds of strikes in a few seconds.”

“They’re incredibly powerful animals. They’ve been on the planet for 60 million years. They’ve survived because they’re survivors,” Lyons added. “It probably thought that Steve’s shadow was a Tiger Shark, which feeds on them very regularly, so it started to attack him.”

Though Lyons saw the initial attack, he didn’t think it had caused much damage to his long time friend and coworker. However, when his camera found Irwin, he knew something was terribly wrong.

Justin Lyons Tries To Save Irwin

“I panned with the camera as the stingray swam away. I didn’t even know that it had caused any damage,” he said on Studio Ten. “It wasn’t until I panned the camera back that Steve was standing in a huge pool of blood that I realized that something had gone wrong. The first thing I thought of is we have to get out of the water, because we’re attracting sharks.”

Once Lyons was able to get the still-conscious Irwin onto the inflatable, he quickly looked him over to see where the damage was. Irwin believed that he’d been struck by the barb in the lung, and noted he was having trouble breathing. Lyons’ mission was to get him to the main boat as quickly as he could, seeing the immense pain Irwin was in.

“Stingrays have venom on their barb, so I’m sure it was excruciatingly painful,” Lyons said. “[Steve] had an extraordinary threshold for pain, so I knew that when he was in pain it must have been painful.”

Irwin Says, 'I'm Dying'

Before they could get Irwin medical help, Lyons instructed a crewmember to cover Irwin’s chest wound with his hand, while he told the Crocodile Hunter to think of his family and kids and to hold on. After several moments of silence, Irwin told Lyon’s, “I’m dying.” Lyons performed CPR for about an hour before paramedics saw Irwin, and promptly pronounced him dead.

Though Lyons had the footage of the fatal incident on camera, he has stated that he has no intention of ever making it public out of respect for Irwin’s family, which includes his surviving wife Terri Irwin and children Bindi Irwin and Robert Irwin.

– Chelsea Regan

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