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`Crocodile Hunter' Killed by Stingray

September 04, 2006|From the Associated Press

BRISBANE, Australia — Steve Irwin, the Australian television personality and environmentalist known as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed today by a stingray barb during a diving expedition, police said.

Irwin, 44, collapsed after being stung at Batt Reef, near Low Isle off the resort town of Port Douglas, about 1,260 miles north of Brisbane, state police said.

A rescue helicopter flew to the scene when members of Irwin's crew raised the alarm, but Irwin had died, the statement said.

"The probable cause of death is stingray strike to the chest," Queensland ambulance service spokesman Bob Hamil said.

Irwin was filming an underwater documentary on the Great Barrier Reef when the incident occurred, Sydney's Daily Telegraph reported on its website.

Irwin was famous for his enthusiasm for wildlife and his catch cry "Crikey!" in his TV program, "Crocodile Hunter," which was first broadcast in Australia in 1992 and has been seen around the world.

Two years ago, Irwin came under criticism for holding his infant son while feeding a crocodile at his reptile park, and nearly faced charges the same year for allegedly approaching too closely to protected Antarctic wildlife during filming.

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