Steve Irwin's biographer Tommy Donovan has revealed the wildlife conservationist's tragic death was caught on tape.
Yesterday (4 September) was the 16th anniversary of the famous Crocodile Hunter's death.
As heartfelt messages poured in for the beloved Aussie, the location of this tape has remained a mystery.
Irwin was killed by a stingray just off Australia's Great barrier reef in 2006. He was attempting to capture footage of a normally harmless stingray when disaster struck.
As the animal lover went near the creature, it raised its tail and stabbed him.
Which, as Donovan explained, was all caught on tape.
Why? Well, Steve had a rule: "He tells his camera crew to always be filming."
The biographer continued: "If he needs help he will ask for it. Even if he is eaten by a shark or croc, the main thing he wants is that it be filmed. If he died he would be sad if no one got it on tape."
And that's what happened after his cameraman Justin Lyons caught the attack on camera, at first not realising the severity of the situation.
The pair had been trying to gather footage for his daughter's TV show, Bindi the Jungle Girl.
"It should have been an innocent encounter for a TV show aimed at children," John Stainton, the director of the show, explained.
When Lyons got him back onto the boat, Irwin 'was having trouble breathing'.
He said: "Even if we'd been able to get him into an emergency ward at that moment we probably wouldn't have been able to save him because the damage to his heart was massive.
"As we're motoring back I'm screaming at one of the other crew in the boat to put their hand over the wound and we're saying to him things like, 'Think of your kids, Steve, hang on, hang on, hang on."
Unfortunately, Irwin succumbed to his injuries, with the entire attack, Lyon and the paramedic's attempts to save him all caught on camera.
The tape was then passed on to authorities to aid their investigations.
Once returned, Discovery Communications, the network that propelled Irwin's career, said that the footage would 'never see the light of day'.
Stainton, who was a close friend of Irwin's, then went to say that 'it should be destroyed'.
"When that is finally released [after investigations], it will never see the light of day. Ever. Ever. I actually saw it, but I don't want to see it again," he told Larry King Live.
All copies of the tape were destroyed following investigations, except one - that copy was reportedly given to Irwin's wife, Terri who is said to have destroyed the tape without watching it.
Featured Image Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo SWNS
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