[imagesource: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images]
Sunday marked 16 years since Steve Irwin tragically passed away.
The man who made the word ‘crikey’ famous around the world was just 44 when he died during the filming of a documentary at the Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s northeast coast. He was pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while snorkelling in shallow waters.
His good friend, John Stainton, recently opened up about the ‘strange’ speech Irwin gave before they started filming Ocean’s Deadliest.
It’s well-known that Irwin had a rule about never turning off the cameras at any point during filming. Years ago, friend Tommy Donovan said, “Even if he is eaten by a shark or croc, the main thing he wants is that it be filmed. If he died he would be sad if no one got it on tape.”
We know that, as per Irwin’s wishes, his death was caught on film but what happened next is unclear. This via The Mirror:
Finding himself bored at his hotel with cameraman Justin Lyons and director John Stainton, they took out a small boat on Batt Reef, off the coast of Port Douglas…
Not realising the severity of the attack, Justin continued to film, but when he panned back to Steve and saw him surrounded by a pool of blood, he knew something had gone very wrong…
Perhaps knowing his injuries were far more serious than suspected, the cameras even caught the heartbreaking moment Steve turned to Justin and calmly said, “I’m dying” – which would have been his final words.
Irwin was given mouth-to-mouth by Lyons, at which point a second cameraman is said to have continued filming.
However, once paramedics arrived on the scene they declared the conservationist and entertainer dead.
The tape, showing the moment of the attack and the subsequent CPR and medical efforts to keep Irwin alive, was handed to Queensland Police to help with their investigations in the days after the attack.
Rumours immediately circulated that it would be shown on TV but Discovery Communications, the network that made Steve a star, insisted the footage would never see the light of day.
Exactly how many copies remain, if any, is a point of contention.
Authorities say they gave Irwin’s widow, Terri, a copy and destroyed the rest. She says she destroyed it without ever watching the footage.
However, Terri believes there is still a copy “sitting in a dusty police vault somewhere”, which has not been confirmed.
Speaking in 2006, Stainton said he had seen the footage once, “but I don’t want to see it again”. Lyons hopes that if there is a copy remaining tucked away in a police vault, it never sees the light of day.
Hear, hear – let the enduring memory of Irwin be his lifelong love for nature and not his final moments.
Daughter Bindi paid tribute to Grandpa Crocodile earlier this week:
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