Connor Bystrom will be awarded the Coast Guard Gold Life Saving Medal on Thursday for actions taken following a shark attack off the coast of Anna Maria Island, Fla., on Sept. 24, 2011.
Bystrom and several friends were spear fishing when a man dove below the surface and surfaced with a bite on his leg by a 10-foot bull shark. The man began struggling and yelling for help.
Bystrom jumped into the water, swam towards his friend, took a hold of him, swam him back to the boat and helped him aboard. Using the boat’s anchor line and several towels, Bystom formed a tourniquet, and applied pressure to his friend’s leg as the boat crewmembers drove the boat back to shore where EMS crews were waiting.
Bystom’s initiative and bravery resulted in saving the man’s life.
The Gold Lifesaving Medal was established by Congress in 1874 and is one of the oldest military medals. It is awarded by the commandant of the Coast Guard to any person who rescues, or endeavors to rescue, any other person from drowning, shipwreck or other peril of the water.