Do you remember a few years back? A teenage surfer was hit by a shark at Ballina, at the site where plans for a controversial $500,000 shark barrier were scrapped – you can read the story HERE.
Cooper Allen, 17 at the time, was surfing Lighthouse Beach with friends Jae Waters, then 14, and Thomas Harper, 16, when they saw his board lift out of the water and become ensnared with a shark, the breed is not known.
The pair quickly got Allen to shore and called emergency services and now, they've been rewarded for their actions with a Bravery Medal. They were among 62 others in the Australian Bravery Awards announced a few days back by the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.
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The citation for the award reads: ''By this time the shark had managed to disentangle itself from the leg rope and began to pursue the boys at close distance."
Cooper was treated for some large gouges on his thigh. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Jay said: “I was pretty close to him, probably 10 metres away. We were just cruising. I thought he was messing around, like jumping off his board. Then I saw a bit more commotion and splashing around behind him. I saw the shark's head behind Cooper at the start, then it swam between us. I didn't look back but Tom did and said he saw the shark following us."
Cooper added: “It's good to see they get recognition for what they did. In their situation I would like to think I would have done the same thing but it's a really scary situation so it's hard to say how I would react. I surf now as much as I possibly can. I still surf as per normal. My mum always worries. I think all mothers always worry. I guess the less she knows the better."
Cover shot: Cooper in hospital by Amanda Abate/7 News Queensland