Joanne Lucas was awarded the Star of Courage for rescuing a swimmer from a shark attack in Albany, Western Australia.
On 10 May 2008 Joanna, a member of the Albany Surf Club, was conducting voluntary surf boat training when she was alerted to a swimmer in the ocean being attacked by a shark.
Unable to find anyone to help her, Joanne immediately swam out towards the man. He was in a critical state, weakened by significant blood loss, and barely able to tread water or swim.
Keeping sight of the shark’s dorsal fin, Joanne grabbed hold of the man and started the 80 metre swim back to shore.
In the meantime, nearby swimmers attempted to scare the shark away. Joanne feared that their splashing would encourage the shark to resume its attack. Nevertheless, she maintained her composure and concentrated on getting the injured swimmer to the beach.
Despite the extraordinary demands of the ordeal, and her state of exhaustion, Joanne continued to reassure the victim. Once back on land, others were on hand to provide first aid until ambulance officers arrived at the scene.