Farewell, Steve Irwin

I was out in the garden gathering tomatoes and cucumbers when Karina called me in to give me the news that Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, had died. He was swimming in shallow water above a reef, fililming for his 8-year-old daughter’s upcoming t.v. show, when a ray stung him, straight in the heart. This apparently is very rare. Most ray stings are painful and damaging, but not fatal. It just happened that this one’s barb (8 inches long or so) got him right exactly in the heart.

I wasn’t a rabid fan of the man, but I watched his shows when I came across them, and Pato really liked him a lot. I guess just the fact that he was in the world, doing his thing, made me happy. So, while my own sense of loss is pitiably small, I guess I can share in the general grief afoot in the world.

Some of what you read about the death is “he died doing what he loved” and so forth, and this is a natural thing to say, but I always figured he’d be done in by a crocodile or shark or snake: something you know can kill you. But maybe that’s why it was a ray: nobody expected it to be that dangerous. Plus, while Steve had extremely good reactions to avoid strikes (from snakes and gators, for instance), he wouldn’t have been so quick in the water.

There are some strange discrepancies in the reports. Some say the ray’s barb was 10cm, some say 20cm, some give a general “up to 30cm.” I’ve read some articles that say that he died instantly, while the cameraman who was filming the whole thing says that Irwin pulled the barb out of his own chest. Then, other reports say he was “unconscious” when they got him back on the boat, and they performed CPR on him for 30 minutes while transporting him.

Anyway. It’s a sad day. I’ll miss the Crocodile Hunter.

PatrickNews09/04/06 2 comments


Dad • 09/05/06 9:57 PM:

At first, I didn’t like Steve Irwin because he seemed like just some sensationalist trying to make a name for himself by taking chances with alligators. But, of course, ya gotta like the guy.

You’re right. You’d expect him to be eaten by a gator (well, actually a crocodile) or suffocated by a boa constrictor or poisoned by a cobra. The idea of him being stabbed in the heart by a sting ray is hard to take. It makes me cringe.

I did hear his producer (?) say that he saw the video and Irwin pulled the barb out of his chest before going unconscious. Maybe it was the removal of the stinger that caused his death? Anyway, I too mourn his death. Talk about not knowing the day or the hour!

David • 09/14/06 3:40 PM:

There is no doubt that I am a science teacher today in part because of people like Steve Irwin. Granted, it’s not directly because of him, seeing as he didn’t come around until after I was already a teacher. But I have always loved nature and nature shows - stuff like Wild America, Nature, Nova, you name it. These shows, and nature in general, inspire me, they’re magical to me.

Here is a collection of political cartoons honoring Steve Irwin. Maybe I’m a softy, but some of them choked me up and put tears in my eyes. Obviously he was super. How could you not be inspired by his personality and his work? I agree with what Pat and Dad said. I will also miss him. Here is an Animal Planet Tribute site.

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