The initial postmortem examination confirms that a stingray's venomous barb pierced Steve Irwin's heart causing his death, according to this article from National Geographic News.
It's not surprising to imagine that this entire incident was caught on tape. But, this article does confirm that there was video footage of the attack. This footage will now be examined by the coroner.
Irwin's friend, director, and producer, John Stainton, who was on Irwin's boat Croc One when the attack happened, says it is too early to release the footage of his friend's fatal encounter to the public.What? Does anyone actually want to see this footage? I know that I don't. But, you know what will happen. The tape will be leaked out in some way and eventually end up on the internet and probably YouTube.Com as well. His family, friends, and fans are suffering enough. I hope this video is never released.
Update: Health Psych made this comment, "And the Steve Irwin backlash kicks off..." This article from the Guardian clearly exhibits this.
As a Melbourne boy, Irwin should have had a healthy respect for stingrays, which are actually commoner, and bigger, in southern waters than they are near Port Douglas, where he was killed. The film-makers maintain that the ray that took Irwin out was a "bull ray", or Dasyatis brevicaudata, but this is not usually found as far north as Port Douglas. Marine biologist Dr Meredith Peach has been quoted as saying, "It's really quite unusual for divers to be stung unless they are grappling with the animal and, knowing Steve Irwin, perhaps that may have been the case." Not much sympathy there then.Blaming the guy who got killed? What the hell is that about? It's worse than kicking a guy when he's down. It's kicking a guy when he's dead. This really gets me upset. Of course, the next paragraph of the article mentions the controversial episode where he had his one month old son in one hand when visiting a crocodile in an Australian Zoo. The press just get me fired up sometimes.
Here's what I predict is going to happen. Politicians both in Austraila and in the US will use the hype generated by the press to pass laws preventing less direct contact between animals and people. The politicans will get a hold of the videotape from the Irwin episode and will broadcast it to make their point. The consequence of this will be significantly less wildlife/nature shows for television. And, television networks like Animal Planet will eventually become extinct. To be honest, I don't even watch nature shows. Am I overreacting to all of this?