Steve Irwin, the beloved "Crocodile Hunter" who lost his life in a tragic stingray accident, is being remembered by his former cameraman and friend, Justin Lyons, in a new interview that details Irwin's final moments.
Lyons worked as Irwin's "right-hand man" for more than 15 years of his career prior to his death in 2006, when he was stabbed in the chest by a stingray. Lyons details the moments prior to the incident and what brought the two to filming location in the first place. A clip of the interview can be viewed below.
"I remember it really, very clearly," Lyons said. "We had been working on a documentary called 'Ocean's Deadliest,' basically looking at the deadliest creatures in the ocean ... we're about eight days in filming crocodiles and sea snakes I think and we were looking for tiger sharks. We'd had a bit of bad weather. Steve's like a caged tiger, when he couldn't do something, particularly on a boat, he said, 'Let's go and do something.'"
Lyons goes on to give details about the moment he realized Irwin was dead, telling the hosts his last words he heard him say were "I'm dying." Lyons clarifies that stingrays are traditionally calm sea animals, but may have mistaken Irwin's shadow for a tiger shark.
"We'd only been motoring for a few minutes and we found a massive stingray," he said. "Stingrays are normally very calm, if they don't want you to be around them, they'll swim away. They're very fast swimmers ... I had the camera on and I thought this was going to be a great shot, it's going to be in the doc for sure, and then all of the sudden it propped on its front, and started stabbing wildly with its tail, hundreds of strikes in a few seconds."
"It probably thought Steve's shadow was a tiger shark, which feeds on them very regularly," he continued. "And so it started to attack him. I panned with the cameras, the stingray swam away. I didn't even know it had caused any damage, it wasn't until I panned the camera back that Steve was standing in a huge pool of blood that I realized something had gone wrong."
Watch a full clip of Justin Lyon's interview about Steve Irwin below.
(Pictured above: Left - Steve Irwin appears in Redondo Beach, California on Jan. 20, 2005. Right - Justin Lyons appears on the Australian talk show "Studio Ten Sunday" on March 9, 2014. Credit: Jen Lowery / startraksphoto.com / youtube.com/studio10au)