1. ITV Report

Steve Irwin's cameraman describes his last moments

Steve Irwin. Photo: Reuters

The cameraman who was with Steve Irwin when he died has spoken for the first time about his death.

Justin Lyons, a underwater cameraman Irwin called his "best friend and right hand man" described his furious attempts to save the Crocodile Hunter's life after he was attacked by an eight foot stingray in 2006.

The pair were sailing in shallow water off the coast of Queensland looking for Tiger Sharks when they found the extraordinarily large creature. Not normally deadly, the pair discussed how they intended to capture the animal on screen before diving in to start rolling.

Stingrays are normally very calm. If they don't want you to be around them they will swim away. They are very fast swimmers.

After filming for a few minutes, they stood up in the shallow water and decided on one final shot. Mr Lyon described to Australia's Channel Ten Studio Ten what happened next.

We stood up and said, one last shot - you swim up from behind the animal and I will try and get it swimming away.

All of a sudden, it propped on its front, and started stabbing wildly with its tail.

Lyons speculated that the animal thought Irwin was a Tiger Shark, and was stinging to protect itself from deadly attack. Initially Lyons said he did not know it had caused any damage, and continued to film as it swam off. He described his horror when he turned back round to film his friend.

It wasn't until I panned the camera back and Steve was standing in a huge pool of blood, that I realised something had went wrong.

He said the barb of the stingray went through Irwin's chest "like a hot knife through butter". His lung was punctured, and the venom of the the animal would have caused him extraordinary pain.

As the boat motored back to land, Lyons and the other people on the boat attempted to stop the bleeding across his chest and implored Irwin to stay with them, and think of his family as the pain knocked him in and out of consciousness. He said Irwin was very calm, immobilised by the pain, as the crew scrambled frantically around him.

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

Lyons then did CPR on his best friend for over an hour, before the emergency helicopter arrived. He says he continued for so long as he did not know his heart was punctured as well as his lungs, and he refused to give up hope.

Terri Iwin, wife of Steve Irwin, with daughter Bindi and son Bob, at his memorial service. Credit: Reuters

Irwin famously insisted on keeping the camera rolling no matter what happened, so the furious attempts to save his life on the boat were recorded.

The crew member who shot the footage said he did so thinking Irwin would survive, and would be annoyed that they stopped rolling. Lyons says he has no interest in watching the trauma, nor would he want anyone else to.

I don't know what's happened to it and I hope it would never see the light of day.