Cameraman Justin Lyons, the sole witness to the tragic death of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin revealed the star's final moments in a new interview this week.
"I'm dying," was all the 44-year-old popular television host said after a surprise attack eight years ago by a massive stingray, Lyons told Studio Ten Sunday.
The two were in Australia's Great Barrier Reef in September 2006 to shoot a nature documentary when they found a "massive, 8-foot-wide stingray," Lyons said.
Lyons, who worked with Irwin for 15 years, said they were “looking for something to do” when they went exploring around the water in an inflatable boat.
He told his friend to swim up behind the stingray and he would try to get a shot of the "normally very calm" animal. But the stingray did not remain calm.
“All of a sudden, it propped on its front and started stabbing wildly with its tail," Lyons said, adding that it made "Hundreds of strikes in a few seconds."
“I didn’t realize how serious it was. I didn’t know it punctured his heart. I thought maybe it just punctured his lung and we had a good chance of saving him.”
He pulled Irwin into a boat and tried to get him help. He did CPR on him for an hour but Irwin, who was bleeding profusely from his chest, could not be revived.
Lyons told Irwin to think of his children in that moment. "He just sort of calmly looked up at me and said, 'I'm dying.' And that was the last thing he said," Lyons said.
When the medics finally came they pronounced him dead within 10 seconds of their arrival, Lyons said. He said he would never release the footage.
"Never," he said. "Out of respect for his family, I would say never."