Australia - Steve Irwin, the Australian television personality and environmentalist
known as the Crocodile Hunter, was killed Monday by a stingray barb
during a diving expedition, media reports said.
Irwin, host of Animal Planet's series "The Crocodile Hunter", holds
a rattle snake during Nickelodeon's 15th annual Kids' Choice Awards
in Santa Monica, California in this April 20, 2002 file
photo. Sky Television reported that Irwin, whose television
show "The Crocodile Hunter" won international acclaim and
popularised the phrase "Crikey", had been stung by a sting ray.
Australian emergency officials could not immediately confirm the
Irwin, 44, was filming an underwater documentary on the Great Barrier
Reef in northeastern Queensland state when the accident occurred, Sydney's
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on its Web site.
The Australian Broadcasting Corp. said Irwin was diving near Low Isles
Reef near the resort town of Port Douglas, about 2,100 kilometers (1,260
miles) north of the state capital of Brisbane when the incident happened.
Queensland ambulance service spokesman Bob Hamil confirmed that a
diver had been killed by a
stingray off Lowe Isles Reef, but said the person's name wasn't being
released pending notification
of the family.
A rescue helicopter was sent from the nearby city of Cairns, and
paramedics from it confirmed the diver's death.
"The probable cause of death is stingray strike to the chest," Hamil
Staff at Australia Zoo, Irwin's zoo in southern Queensland, said they
had heard the media reports but could not make any comment.
Irwin is famous for his enthusiasm for wildlife and his catchcry
"Crikey!" in his television program, Crocodile Hunter, which was first
broadcast in Australia in 1992 and has been broadcast around the world on
the Discovery channel.
He rode his image into a feature
film, and developed the Australia Zoo as a tourist
The public image was dented
in 2004 when Irwin triggered an uproar by holding his baby in one arm
while feeding large crocodiles inside a zoo pen. Irwin claimed at the time
there was no danger to his son, and authorities declined to charge Irwin
with violating safety regulations.
Later that year, he was accused of getting too close to penguins, a seal and humpback whales in
Antarctica while making a
documentary. Irwin denied any
wrongdoing, and an Australian Environment Department investigation
recommended no action be taken against