'Shocking' footage of Irwin's death given to police

Shocking underwater video footage of 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin's death has been handed to police.

Irwin, 44, was killed yesterday when a stingray barb pierced his chest while he filmed footage for a television programme on the Great Barrier Reef off far north Queensland. His body has been taken to Cairns.

Irwin's life in pictures

Irwin's manager, John Stainton, told Sydney's 2GB radio this morning that the footage showing Irwin's death after he was speared in the chest by a stingray was "shocking".

He told the station: "It's a very hard thing to watch because you're watching somebody die and it's terrible."

The video showed Mr Irwin pulling the barb out of his chest before losing consciousness, said Mr Stainton.

But the head of Discovery Networks which broadcasts Irwin's shows told agencies today that the footage of the final moments may never be shown.

AAP reported that Billy Campbell, the president of Discovery Networks, which owns the Animal Planet channel, said it was far too early to decide what footage viewers would see from Irwin's fatal trip on the Great Barrier Reef.

The death of Mr Irwin, best known for his catchcry "Crikey!" and nicknamed The Crocodile Hunter, lead TV and radio bulletins throughout Australia, the United States and Britain.

Flowers have been left outside his Australia Zoo in Queensland.

He made almost 50 documentaries which appeared on the cable TV channel Animal Planet.

His friend and manager Mr Stainton told reporters in Cairns that Irwin's wife, Terri, was putting on a brave front after the incident.

"I think she's being very strong," Mr Stainton told reporters.

"I think for the children's sake she has to be strong because they're at a very impressionable age, as you know.

"Bindi's eight and little Robert's coming up to three, so he may not totally understand but Bindi certainly does.

She is at the family home on the Sunshine Coast with her children and Mr Stainton said she had no plans to go to Cairns.

ABC Radio reported that the footage could become key evidence at a coroners inquest.

Far north police Superintendent Michael Keating confirmed police were preparing a report for the coroner.

ABC said the footage apparently showed a bull ray in close contact with Irwin. A cameraman accompanying Mr Irwin told police he noticed blood in the water straight after the sting.

- NZHERALD STAFF

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