Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin has Left the Building

It's a sad day but at least he died the way he lived...stupidly handling dangerous animals as far as he could possibly be from medical facilities.

From AP
Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality and conservationist known as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed Monday by a stingray while filming off the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44.



Irwin was at Batt Reef, off the remote coast of northeastern Queensland state, shooting a segment for a series called "Ocean's Deadliest" when he swam too close to one of the animals, which have a poisonous bard on their tails, his friend and colleague John Stainton said.

"He came on top of the stingray and the stingray's barb went up and into his chest and put a hole into his heart," said Stainton, who was on board Irwin's boat at the time.

Crew members aboard the boat, Croc One, called emergency services in the nearest city, Cairns, and administered CPR as they rushed the boat to nearby Low Isle to meet a rescue helicopter. Medical staff pronounced Irwin dead when they arrived a short time later, Stainton said.

Irwin was famous for his enthusiasm for wildlife and his catchword "Crikey!" in his television program "Crocodile Hunter." First broadcast in Australia in 1992, the program was picked up by the Discovery network, catapulting Irwin to international celebrity.

"The world has lost a great wildlife icon, a passionate conservationist and one of the proudest dads on the planet," Stainton told reporters in Cairns. "He died doing what he loved best and left this world in a happy and peaceful state of mind. He would have said, 'Crocs Rule!'"

"It's a huge loss to Australia," Howard told reporters. "He was a wonderful character. He was a passionate environmentalist. He brought joy and entertainment and excitement to millions of people."

Stingrays have a serrated, toxin-loaded barb, or spine, on the top of their tail. The barb, which can be up to 10 inches long, flexes if a ray is frightened. Stings usually occur to people when they step on or swim too close to a ray and can be excruciatingly painful but are rarely fatal, said University of Queensland marine neuroscientist Shaun Collin.

Collin said he suspected Irwin died because the barb pierced under his ribcage and directly into his heart.

"It was extraordinarily bad luck. It's not easy to get spined by a stingray and to be killed by one is very rare," Collin said.

So sad...

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