|Steve Irwin killed by stingray|
Posted by on September 04, 2006 at 07:47:24:|
In Reply to: Steve Irwin killed by a Stingray posted by Ken Kurtis on September 03, 2006 at 23:36:16:
Television personality and environmentalist Steve Irwin has died from a stingray wound while filming off north Queensland.
Friends believe he may have died instantly when struck by a stingray as he filmed a sequence for his eight-year-old daughter Bindi's new TV series.
Irwin's friend of 20 years, Ferre De Deyne said Irwin had been struck by the stingray while filming. "The stingray just happened to be swimming around and out of the blue whacked his tail at him," he said.
"It is absolutely tragic. I have dived so many times with stingrays and they are usually very placid things," he said.
Known worldwide as the Crocodile Hunter, 44-year-old Irwin was famous for his enthusiasm for wildlife and his catchcry "Crikey!"
Irwin had been filming a new documentary called Ocean's Deadliest with friend and manager John Stainton at Batt Reef, off Port Douglas about 11am.
"He came over the top of a stingray and the stingray's barb went up and went into his chest and put a hole into his heart," Mr Stainton said.
"It's likely that he possibly died instantly when the barb hit him, and I don't think that he ... felt any pain.
"He died doing what he loved best."
Irwin was pulled aboard his research vessel, Croc One, for a 30-minute dash to Low Isle, where a Queensland Rescue Helicopter had been summoned, his Australia Zoo said in a statement.
The crew of the Croc One performed constant CPR during the voyage to Low Isle, but medical staff pronounced him dead about noon.
"It became clear fairly soon that he had non-survivable injuries," said Dr Ed O'Loughlin, who treated Irwin at the scene.
"He had a penetrating injury to the left front of his chest.
"He had lost his pulse and wasn't breathing."
Body flown to Cairns
Mr Irwin's body was flown to a morgue in Cairns, where stunned family and friends were gathering tonight.
His American-born wife Terri was told of her husband's death while on a walking tour in Tasmania, and tonight returned to the Sunshine Coast with her two children, Bindi Sue, 8, and three-year-old son Robert Clarence, usually known as Bob, 3.
The Irwins married in 1992 - the same year Irwin made a one-off documentary, The Crocodile Hunter, which later became a world-famous TV series and movie.
Mr Stainton said the accident happened after bad weather halted filming for the new documentary series.
During the break, Irwin had been shooting footage for his daughter Bindi's upcoming TV series, Mr Stainton said.
"He said 'I might just go off and shoot some segments for Bindi's show, just stuff on the reef and little animals'.
"I just said fine, anything that would keep him moving and keep his adrenalin going.
"The next thing I heard on the radio was there was a medical emergency, the little dinghy he was in was bringing him back with the crew.
"Everyone tried absolutely tirelessly to revive him to keep him alive, we cut dinghies loose and made it post haste to Low Isle where we knew the chopper would be able to get in, but I think it's possible he probably died at 11am."
Stingray deaths 'quite rare'
Irwin's death was one of only a handful of known stingray deaths in Australian waters.
When asked if he had ever heard of anyone dying from a stingray barb, Matthew Hurley, general manager of Quicksilver Group, whose company has taken tours to Low Isles for 26 years, said: "No, definitely not.
Ross Coleman, acting director at at University of Sydney Institute of Marine Science, told smh.com.au it was "quite rare" for someone to die from contact with a stingray and he couldn't recall hearing of another incident.
Stingrays were "dangerous if provoked", he said.
A professional scuba diver who raised the alarm about Irwin's tragic accident said he may still have been alive when he was taken from the water.
Professional diver Pete West was on board a boat close to scene of the attack when it happened. He said Mr Irwin's party asked him to alert authorities to the medical emergency.
"We were the closest boat to the area and they stopped by to tell us, we raised the alarm while they took him back to his own boat," Mr West told the Seven Network.
Asked if Mr Irwin was alive when they got him on his own boat, Mr West said: "I believe so."
"He was doing what he did best and unfortunately today he wasn't quick enough."
'The zoo will go on'
Irwin's wife Terri would not close down the zoo, predicted Jim Dalrymple, whose local irrigation firm helped maintain the water supplies to Irwin's Australia Zoo in Beerwah on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
The zoo is the biggest local employer with 550 staff, Mr Dalrymple said.
"I managed an irrigation business in Beerwah and had occasions where I served Steve personally.
"Terri would ring to say Steve was on his way down to the shop, can you stay open. It was usually on a Saturday afternoon when Steve needed something and got caught short. He was always so thankful.
"I think the zoo will go on," said Mr Dalrymple, who also owns the local Beerwah Motel.
"I don't think Terri would let it close down. She's too passionate to change Steve's wishes. But he's irreplaceable."
'True to the core'
Mr De Deyne, the managing director of the Big Kart Track which is located close to Australia Zoo, said he had counted Irwin as a friend for 20 years.
"I've lost a dear frend. This is absolutely tragic news for me," he said.
Mr De Deyne said he had first met Irwin in 1985 in a restaurant in Coloundra. He described him as a "regular guy" who would often come in for a bite to eat.
"This guy was true to the core. He was big and alive and had a total commitment to everything he was doing.
"You will never ever find a guy with more passion about the environment or the conservation of wildlife. He put Australia on the world map and did the same for Queensland and the Sunshine Coast.''
'Nothing would ever scare Steve'
Irwin's manager John Stainton admitted he always feared that Steve Irwin would meet his "demise" while working with the wildlife he loved.
But he said although Mr Irwin got into plenty of "close shaves" with his antics involving various dangerous animals over the years, his star charge never feared death.
Mr Stainton admitted he "always" feared that this day would come during their 20-year association.
"You think about all the documentaries we've made and all the dangerous situations that we have been in, you always think 'Is this it, is this a day that maybe is his demise?'," he said in Cairns today.
"We've been in some pretty close shaves.
"(But) nothing would ever scare Steve or would worry him. He didn't have a fear of death at all."
Discovery Channel suspends 'Crocodile Hunter'
The Discovery and Animal Planet TV networks - which produced Irwin's programs - suspended broadcasts of the Crocodile Hunter series across its networks this afternoon.
"Discovery Networks International and Animal Planet International mourn the loss of Steve Irwin, the world's Crocodile Hunter, " the broadcasters said in a statement.
"Steve was beloved by millions of fans and animal lovers worldwide and was a true friend to Discovery Networks.
"He was also one of the world's most passionate conservationists. His loss will be felt for many years to come.
"As a mark of respect to Steve and his family, all programming featuring Steve has been temporarily suspended from the Animal Planet schedule”.
Trouble over croc feeding with son
Irwin won a global following for his daredevil antics but also triggered outrage in 2004 by holding his then one-month-old baby while feeding a snapping crocodile at his Australian zoo.
Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer, who used a photograph of his family at Australia Zoo for his official Christmas card last year, hailed Irwin for his work in promoting Australia.
Irwin was heavily involved in last year's "G'Day LA'' campaign.
"The minister knew him, was fond of him and was very, very appreciative of all the work he'd done to promote Australia overseas," a spokesman said.
The Crocodile Hunter program was first broadcast in 1992 and has been shown around the world on cable network Discovery.
Irwin came 20th last year in BRW magazine's top 50 entertainers.
The magazine said the hugely popular Crocodile Hunter spent most of 2005 filming and launching his new television series, New Breed Vets, to appear on the pay-TV channel Animal Planet.
In February, Irwin received an award from Tourism Australia for his contribution to tourism.
Over the last 12 months, he has also expanded his Australia Zoo wildlife park on the Sunshine Coast.
Pop star Justin Timberlake last month recalled visiting the zoo on his Australian 2004 tour.
"I know he got a lot of flak, but there's something in that dude's blood, he's like one of those animals," Timberlake told the Courier Mail newspaper.
"We got in the cage and he said, 'I want to show you how the crocs hunt.' All of a sudden it pops out of the water, we jump back, it came up on the land and he saw how its temperament was and he told us to step back.
"He's like Dr Dolittle, for real. He knows what those crocodiles are thinking.
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