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Steve Irwin's last words revealed

Steve Irwin
Steve Irwin

The cameraman who witnessed Steve Irwin's death has spoken about the Crocodile Hunter's last moments for the first time.

Justin Lyons was filming Irwin for a new documentary entitled Ocean's Deadliest when he was attacked by a giant sting ray.

"Stingrays are normally very calm - if they don't want you to be near them, they'll swim away," Lyons told Studio Ten yesterday.

"All of a sudden it propped on its front and started stabbing wildly with its tail. Hundreds of strikes in a few seconds.

"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."

Lyons said the sting ray's barb had pierced Irwin's heart "like a hot knife through butter". Lyons threw Irwin back into their boat and sped off towards the shore, telling Irwin to think of his children.

"He was in extraordinary pain – they've got venom on their barb, so I knew it must've been painful.

"He just sort of calmly looked up at me and said, 'I'm dying'. And that was the last thing he said.

"We hoped for a miracle. I did CPR on him for over an hour before the medics came, but then they pronounced him dead within 10 seconds of looking at him."

The entire ordeal was captured on camera, in accordance with Irwin's wish that anything that happened to him while filming be documented.

The footage is thought to still exist but Lyons says he will never make it public.

"Out of respect for his family, I would say never," he said.

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