Sunday, September 03, 2006
I have no fear of losing my life - if I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it.
Television personality and environmentalist Steve Irwin has died after being stung by a stingray while filming off north Queensland.
Known worldwide as the Crocodile Hunter, the 44-year-old was famous for his enthusiasm for wildlife and his catchcry "Crikey!''.
The Queensland Police Service issued a statement saying Mr Irwin collapsed after being stung at Batt Reef, Low Isles off Port Douglas about 11am. He had been filming a documentary.
"Steve was hit by a stingray in the chest,'' said local diving operator Steve Edmondson, whose Poseidon boats were out on the Great Barrier Reef when the accident occured.
"He probably died from a cardiac arrest from the injury,'' he said.
Police said after he stingray attack, Irwin's crew called for medical treatment at 11am and the Queensland Rescue Helicopter responded with a doctor and paramedic on board.
Mr Irwin had a puncture wound to the left side of his chest and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said Mr Irwin's family has been advised and Irwin's body was being flown to Cairns.
It is believed his American-born wife Terri was trekking on Cradle Mountain in Tasmania when the incident happened.
Police in Tasmania say she has been informed of her husband's death.
The Irwins have two children, an eight-year-old a daughter, Bindi Sue, and a three-year-old son, Robert Clarence, usually known as Bob.
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."
"We've never heard of or been involved with anything like that."
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.
"As a recreational diving instructor you hear of people getting injured by standing on them ... but they rarely die."