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It was calm and still the day an Albany woman driven by instinct swam out to save the life of a fellow surf club member who had been attacked by a shark off Western Australia’s south coast.

Joanne Lucas’ bravery in doing so has earned her the Star of Courage, a bravery award which will presented by the Governor-General Quentin Bryce.

The 54-year-old mother of three had arrived at Middleton Beach, Albany, early on May 10 last year, ahead of a surf club event.

“It was very still and calm, and the sun was shining, and there were dolphins flipping about, a whole pod of dolphins …” Ms Lucas said.

But a short time later, a woman ran up the beach telling her a man had been attacked by a shark.

“I said: `No, no, it’s the dolphins’ and she said: `No it’s a shark’,” Ms Lucas said.

Ms Lucas said running down to the beach, driven by instinct and adrenalin, she stripped off her tracksuit pants and swam 80 metres to where fellow surf club member Jason Cull was critically injured, barely able to swim or tread water.

“It was a completely instinctive thing. I didn’t think: `There’s a shark out there maybe I shouldn’t go out there’,” she said.

“I just thought I’ve got to get this guy out and I’ve got to get him back in.”

All the while, the shark manoeuvred around the scene, with Ms Lucas fearing the frantic splashing of two nearby swimmers trying to scare it away would steer the shark toward her and Mr Cull.

She said she kicked harder and made it to shore where Mr Cull was treated for his injuries.

His leg was completely ripped open from his ankle right up to his knee and he had been “nipped” on the other knee, Ms Lucas said.     Article_shark-200x0

Ms Lucas said she was happy to see Mr Cull now back on his feet and cycling around the place.

Being awarded the star of courage was humbling, she said.

“I’m very honoured and humbled to receive this.”

Ms Lucas said she was quickly back on the beach after the attack.

“It hasn’t turned me off the ocean at all,” she said.

“I actually scan the ocean before I go in now …”

The governor-general is expected to present the star of courage to Ms Lucas at a ceremony early next year.

Source www.watoday.com.au

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Qantas Airbus operating the QF72 Singapore to Perth flight was struck by lightning soon after departure from Changi Airport, the airline confirmed.

A spokesman for the airline said the incident had not presented any safety issue to the aircraft or passengers.                qantas

The plane landed safely in Perth at its scheduled arrival time of 2.20pm, where it will now be inspected.

“The A330-300 aircraft will be inspected by engineers after landing,” the spokesman said.

“It is too soon to say if any maintenance will be required.”

To allow the necessary checks to be undertaken, the return QF71 flight to Singapore will be delayed by about two-and-a-half hours.

It will now depart Perth at 6pm.

Qantas said passengers booked on QF71 would be provided with refreshment vouchers.

“We will be keeping them informed of developments in the lead up to the departure,” the spokesman said.

Source  :  www.watoday.com.au

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A PERTH university student is more than $13 million richer after she presented her winning ticket this week, ten months after her numbers came up.

The Perth Student received the ticket as a gift from her father, purchased  from Beechboro Newsagency in a $50 million OZ Lotto jackpot draw on July 22, 2008.

The winning ticket was a Systems 8 Slikpik costing $8.70.

At first glance, the woman thought she had won just over $13,000 but was later informed that it was actually $13,185,273.                   dollars

“I checked the commas and decimal places and then realised,” she said.

The prize remained unclaimed for 10 months.

The woman said she only decided to check a bundle of tickets because she was worried about her family’s finances.

She was unaware of the 12-month expiry on Lotto tickets in WA.

“Something made me think to check the tickets and I thought that if I win something, then I could help Mum and Dad out,” she said.

“I always remember Mum telling me that if I won Lotto, not to start jumping up and down in the shopping centre.”

She is yet to decide what to do with the unexpected windfall.

“The people close to me will be looked after and I might give some to research or a charity of some kind. It’s nice to have this much to fulfil my dreams and the dreams of the people around me,” she said.

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