PERTH, Australia - An Australian has earned a bravery award for grabbing a 3.7 meter (12-foot) great white shark by the tail as it mauled a snorkeler.
Trevor Burns received the Star of Courage on Monday for 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 says he clung to the tail for several seconds despite its violent thrashing before the shark released Frankcom and swam away.