Steve Irwin (also known as the Crocodile Hunter) lived
from 2/22/64 to 9/4/06. He delighted people of all ages
with his over-the-top personality, antics with fearsome
animals, and Australian accent. At times, he seemed
invincible, able to wrestle giant alligators and never get
eaten by one even though he was rapidly lunged at in
slippery muddy swamps. Surprisingly, Steve Irwin did
not die from an alligator but from a stingray. It is this
injury that is focused on below.
On 9/4/06, at around 11:00 am, Steve Irwin was filming an underwater documentary
entitled Oceanís Deadliest in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia (east of Port Douglas).
He began swimming in shallow water at Batt Reef, near the Low Isles, when he began to
swim above a stingray, estimated to be about 2.5mm from wingtip to wingtip. The stingray
apparently felt threatened, stopped, turned, and lashed its tail upwards. A poisonous
stingray barb on the stingrayís tail pierced Irwinís chest and entered his heart. There is
actually not much distance between the outer chest wall and the heart, making it easy to
pierce that organ. What actually killed him, however, was pulling the barb out of his chest
because this caused more damage to the heart than the initial impact. The poison had
nothing to do with his death. Some medical professionals have stated that it is actually
safer to temporally leave such an object in the body and wait for emergency medical
providers to remove it. However, when someone has an object pierce their heart, the first
instinct will naturally be to pull it out. After pulling out the stingray barb, Mr. Irwin
collapsed. He was breathing but barely conscious and died by the time he was taken on
his boat, Croc One.