An Australian received a bravery award on Monday for grabbing a 3.7 metre (12-foot) great white shark by the tail as it mauled a snorkeler.
Trevor Burns, 50, earned the Star of Courage for acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril by grappling with the shark and then rescuing its victim, Elyse Frankcom, off the southwest coast town of Rockingham in 2010. The only higher Australian civilian award for bravery is the Cross of Valor.
Frankcom was a 19-year-old guide showing dolphins to a group of a dozen tourist snorkelers including Burns when the shark clamped her thighs in its jaws.
Burns said Frankcom was only an arm’s length away, but he quickly lost sight of her in a cloud of blood.
“I just thought: ‘Get it off her,’” the IT consultant said Monday.