The Steve Irwin tape (lost death footage of stingray attack; 2006)
On the 4th of September, 2006, Australian wildlife expert/television personality Steve Irwin a.k.a. 'The Crocodile Hunter' was fatally attacked by a stingray while shooting a documentary titled Ocean's Deadliest in the Great Barrier Reef. The attack, as well as the aftermath and, presumably, the actual moment of death were all captured on camera, due to a production rule imposed by Irwin that cameramen were not to stop recording if something took a turn for the worse, as it was these moments of genuine danger that gave Irwin's documentaries their edge.
According to eyewitness testimonies from crew members, the stingray (which Irwin was attempting to swim over the top of) struck Irwin in the chest multiple times, puncturing his heart, after which point he was immediately pulled from the water by his colleagues onto Croc One (a 75 foot yacht created for the purposes of conducting both research and adventure tours), which attempted to rush to the shore as Irwin bled out. An hour had passed before they made it to land, during which time Irwin's colleague (and the man who was behind the camera when Irwin was attacked), Justin Lyons, performed CPR on him, all the while a second cameraman continued shooting footage from the sidelines. Irwin was pronounced dead by paramedics within seconds of their arrival; according to Lyons, his final words were "I'm dying."
The resulting footage was handed over to Queensland authorities, who are said to have eventually returned it to Irwin's family, who are, in turn, said to have destroyed it. Lyon's, when asked about his feelings on the possibility of the footage one day being aired, stated that he hopes it is never released, out of respect to Irwin's family, also revealing that he is no longer in possession of the recordings and that he suspects that there are no remaining copies in existence.
In the years following Irwin's death, a handful of alleged pieces of footage (in the form of both videos and screenshots) have shown up online, although their validity has never been proven and they are generally accepted as having been either fabricated or taken out of context.
- Studio Ten interview with Justin Lyons, part 1 of 2, via YouTube; 09 Mar 2014. Last retrieved 28 Oct 2014.
- Studio Ten interview with Justin Lyons, part 2 of 2, via YouTube; 09 Mar 2014. Last retrieved 28 Oct 2014.
- Gallery of alleged screenshots from the tape, via imgur. Last retrieved 28 Oct 2014.
- An alleged piece of video footage from the tape, via YouTube. Last retrieved 28 Oct 2014.