Animal Planet star Steve Irwin was killed when a stingray's barb punctured his heart in 2006. Now, for the first time, Irwin's cameraman and dear friend is speaking out about the tragic day.
Justin Lyons, who worked with Irwin for 15 years, went on the Australian show "Studio 10" to share his experience as Irwin's right hand man.
Lyons explained that he and Irwin were over a week into shooting a documentary called "Ocean's Deadliest" when they headed out to find and film a tiger shark. Instead, they came across a massive stingray, which Lyons recalls to have been about eight feet wide.
Irwin and Lyons felt the encounter would be a perfect addition to another segment they'd been working on and approached the animal as they had many times before. After shooting for a while, Irwin decided to get one final shot behind the ray as it swam away.
As he began to shoot, Lyons recalls watching the stingray jab it's tail and barb "hundreds of times." "I panned with the camera as the stingray swam away and I didn’t know it had caused any damage. It was only when I panned the camera back that I saw Steve standing in a huge pool of blood,” he said.
A second cameraman caught the entire incident on tape, as per Irwin's strict policy to never stop shooting.
Lyons remembers pulling Irwin onto the boat and encouraging him to remain conscious. Instead, the star muttered his final words: "I'm dying."
Lyons' interview is a touching tribute to the world's favorite animal expert.
For more of Lyons' story, watch the "Studio 10" interview in full.
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