Steve Irwin, The Croc Hunter, RIP
The good die young in this case,
Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin has been killed in a stingray attack near Cairns on Australia’s far north coast.
It was believed Irwin had been swimming off the coast of Cairns when he was stung.
“It is understood he was killed by a stingray barb that went through his chest,” Brisbane’s Courier Mail reported this afternoon.
Irwin’s wife Terri was believed to be trekking on Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain, Sky News reported.
Stingray attacks are considered extremely rare. There have only been two similar deaths reported in Australia.
A life lived to the fullest.
In June 1992, he married American Terri Raines after they met when she visited Irwin’s Australia Zoo.
The 44-year-old is survived by his wife and two children, Bindi and Robert.
The news is an hour old, and google news has over 100 hits. He was never one of the phony celebrities, but rather someone that took his expertise to the public. When so many have never seen nature (and many of his detractors have rarely been outside urban areas like with the baby incident) he brought nature to the masses.
UPDATE (James Joyner): A sad loss, indeed. Given what he did for a living and his seemingly reckless enthusiasm, I suppose this end was inevitable. Then again, his dad, Bob, has lived to a ripe old age after following a similar path.
Australia News has more details.
A DOCTOR and witnesses have told of the desperate efforts to save Australian icon Steve Irwin after the Crocodile Hunter was struck in the chest by a stingray barb today. Irwin, 44, died this morning after being fatally injured while filming a nature documentary off Queensland.
Irwin’s wife Terri was in Tasmania at the time of the tragedy and had to be contacted by police with the terrible news. The couple’s daughter Bindi, 8, was with her father in north Queensland, Irwin’s manager John Stainton said from Cairns.
Choking back tears, Mr Stainton said Irwin had gone “over the top of a stingray and a stingray’s barb went up and went into his chest and put a hole into his heart”. “He possibly died instantly when the barb hit him, and I don’t think that he … felt any pain.”
Professional diver Pete West was on board a nearby boat and was asked by Irwin’s team to call in the emergency. Asked on Channel 7 if 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.”
Dr Ed O’Loughlin was aboard the Emergency Management Queensland Helicopter which was called from Cairns at 11.21am (AEST). Irwin was being given CPR at Low Isles, off Port Douglas, as the helicopter arrived less than one hour after the incident, but Dr O’Loughlin said nothing could be done to save him.
“It became clear fairly soon that he had non-survivable injuries,” Dr O’Loughlin said. “He had a penetrating injury to the left front of his chest. He had lost his pulse and wasn’t breathing.”
Mr Stainton admitted he had always feared Irwin might meet his death while working with wildlife, but added that Irwin himself was never scared. “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.”
John Weigel, of the Australian Reptile Park on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, said Irwin’s death would be “devastating to a lot of people”. “He walked into the room like someone had opened the window and let the light in. “He seemed invincible and it’s a great shock that it could happen.”
Steve Irwin – known worldwide as the Crocodile Hunter – was famous for his enthusiasm for wildlife and his catchcry “Crikey!”. In an sad twist, it has been reported that his new documentary was aimed at demystifying the stingray. However Mr Stainton said Irwin was filming other footage for a program with Bindi at the time of the attack.
Irwin’s Crocodile Hunter program was first broadcast in 1992 and has been shown around the world on cable network Discovery. He has also starred in movies and has developed the Australia Zoo wildlife park, north of Brisbane, which was started by his parents Bob and Lyn Irwin.
Tributes quickly poured in for the larger-than-life character. Prime Minister John Howard said Irwin was a typical Australian larrikin who brought joy to millions of people around the world. “I am quite shocked and distressed at Steve Irwin’s sudden, untimely and freakish death,” he said. “It’s a huge loss to Australia.”
A Tourism Queensland spokeswoman said the death was shocking and paid tribute to Irwin’s “enormous contribution” to his adopted state. “I don’t think we could even estimate how much he brought us through his personality and his profile and his enthusiasm about Queensland,” she said.
UPDATE (James Joyner): Irwin’s death is not entirely without controversy, with some colleagues saying he pushed the envelope too far.
Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin – killed by a stingray barb through the chest – was a victim of ‘voyeuristic wildlife TV’, fellow experts said today. As tributes poured in for the quirky 44-year-old, survival expert Ray Mears said his death was a “sobering lesson”.
Mears said the Australian’s death was a tragedy and his heart went out to his family. But he added that it proved “some things in nature should be left alone”. He said: “He clearly took a lot of risks and television encouraged him to do that. “It’s a shame that television audiences need that to be attracted to wildlife.
“Dangerous animals, you leave them alone because they will defend themselves. Nature defends itself, it isn’t all about hugging animals and going ‘ahh’. “It’s wonderful to observe but you have to be sensible and maintain a safe distance.”
Mears warned of the “gladiatorial” television of today and labelled some wildlife shows “voyeuristic”. He continued: “Television has become very gladiatorial and it’s not healthy. “The voyeurism we are seeing on television has a cost and it’s that cost Steve Irwin’s family are paying today.”
David Bellamy called him “one of the great showmen and conservationists” and wildlife expert Mark O’Shea said it would leave an “immense hole” in the worlds of conservation and television.
Irwin’s death was only the third known stingray death in Australian waters, said shark and stingray expert Victoria Brims. Wildlife experts said the normally passive creatures only sting in defence, striking with a bayonet-like barb when they feel threatened or are trodden on.
Dr Bellamy called Irwin one of the “world’s great conservationists and showmen” and admitted he cried on hearing the news this morning. He said: “He was magic and for the world of conservation and natural history to lose him is very, very sad. “Everyone said he imitated me but if I could be as good as him I would be very proud. “I used to be castigated by people saying I was a showman because I made jokes but what good is it preaching to the converted?” He continued: “The thing with Steve was he mixed damn good science with showbusiness and I don’t know anyone else who did that. “I’m quite sure all the crocs in Australia are smiling, not crocodile tears, because he made them famous. “When I heard this morning I cried, the world really has lost a very, very important natural historian.”
British zoologist O’Shea said Irwin’s death would leave an “immense hole” in the worlds of conservation and television. O’Shea, who has himself presented television programmes about dangerous reptiles, said Irwin had helped “pave the way” for other people working in the field. He said: “Although we had different styles of working and I did not know him personally, I am actually completely shocked. “It is going to leave an immense hole. What he has done for conservation in Australia is massive.” He said that although some “university professors” might have turned their noses up at the way presenters like Irwin portrayed reptiles, he had probably inspired many people to follow a future in conservation. “A lot of people who now want to study biology and work with animals may not have considered it before they watched him on television,” he said.
Quite so. Irwin took a lot of risks, without a doubt, but they weren’t done out of foolishness but with an expert’s keen awareness.