Bindi Irwin Pens Heartfelt Tribute to Late Father, ‘Grandpa Crocodile’

by Samantha Whidden

On Sunday (September 4th), Bindi Irwin took to her Instagram account to pay tribute to her father, Steve Irwin, on the 16th anniversary of his death. 

In the sweet post, Bindi Irwin shares a snapshot of her and her late father out on a boat with a baby crocodile. “Grandpa Crocodile, I know you would’ve been the most incredible because you were such an extraordinary dad,” she wrote. “Thank you for being an amazing guardian angel for Grace.” 

Bindi Irwin’s social media followers shared their love and support for the conservationist and TV personality. “Your father will be proud of who you are right now,” one follower wrote. Another shared, “Life is so unfair. If anyone deserves to be here with his kids, it’s Steve Irwin. He would have just treasured every moment with each of you.”

Bindi Irwin’s Father Steve Suffered a ‘Freak Ocean Accident’

According to Biography, Bindi Irwin’s father tragically passed away on September 4, 2006, at the age of 44 following what most call a freak ocean accident. While killing some time during a rain delay of filming in Queensland’s Batt Reef, Irwin saw an eight-foot-wife stingray. Cameraman Justin Lyons stated that he and Irwin were in the water together when the situation happened. 

“Stingrays are normally very calm,” Lyons explained. “If they don’t want you around them, they’ll swim away – they’re very fast swimmers.”

However, things quickly turned into chaos when the stingray did something out of the animal’s pattern. Lyons recalled, “All of a sudden, it propped on its front and started stabbing wildly with its tail, hundreds of strikes in a few seconds. It probably thought Steve’s shadow was a tiger shark, who feeds on them pretty regularly, so it started to attack him.” 

Eye-Witness Filmmaker Spoke About Steve Irwin’s Final Moments

Lyon further explained that he was focusing on his work when Steve was being attacked. “We had this rule that if Steve was ever hurt or injured, we had to keep filming no matter what,” he explained. But he eventually realized that the stingray’s tail went into his friend. “Steve was standing in a huge pool of blood that I realized something had gone wrong.” 

Lyons further explained that Irwin had an “extraordinary threshold” for pain. He recapped when he came in contact with Irwin. “I knew that when he was in pain that it must have been painful. 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.” 

Lyons then reflected on the final moments of Irwin’s life. As the crew members kept a hand over the over the wound, Lyons said, “He just sort of calmly looked up at me and said, ‘I’m dying’ – and that was the last thing he said.”