Coast Guard to present Gold Lifesaving Medal to Shark Attack Responder in Miami

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MIAMI — Connor Bystrom is scheduled to be awarded the Coast Guard Gold Life Saving Medal Thursday for actions taken following a shark attack off the coast of Anna Maria Island, Fla., on September 24, 2011.

Bystrom and several friends were spear fishing when a man entered the water alone and dove below the surface. After the man returned to the surface he was bit on his leg by a 10-foot bull shark. The man began struggling and yelling for help. Bystrom jumped into the water and swam towards the man. Bystrom took a hold of his friend, 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 friends leg as the boat crewmembers drove the boat back to shore where EMS crews were waiting.

Bystom’s outstanding 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.

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