12/05/2013 08:49 EST | Updated 02/04/2014 05:59 EST

Plane hijacking rescue earns N.S. woman Star of Courage

A flight attendant from Eastern Passage, N.S., will receive one of Canada’s top awards today for bravery, after she helped save passengers during a dramatic plane hijacking in Jamaica in 2009.

In April that year, a gunman reportedly forced his way through security at the Montego Bay airport and boarded the plane carrying 159 passengers.

He then forced the pilot down a ramp and fired a shot.

Nicole Louise Foran, a flight attendant on the CanJet Flight, urged the gunman to release the passengers in exchange for money.

He agreed, and the scared passengers were able to get off the plane after dropping money into his bags.

According to the Governor General’s office, Foran and her colleague, Carolina Aida Santizo Arriola of Ontario, then spent hours trying to calm the gunman down, but he threatened the crew and demanded they take off.

When a Jamaican anti-terrorist squad eventually stormed the plane, Foran used the distraction to steal the man’s gun away.

Foran will be awarded the Star of Courage at a ceremony in Ottawa on Thursday. Arriola will get a Medal of Bravery.

The Governor General's office says Foran and Arriola demonstrated great courage during a highly volatile situation.

Foran won’t be the only decorated Nova Scotian.

Master Seaman Jason Cecil Sparkes will also get the Star of Courage after he and his fellow firefighters jumped into the icy waters at Peggy’s Cove to rescue an RCMP constable.

They join a total of eight Nova Scotians receiving bravery medals at the same ceremony.

The decorations for bravery were created in 1972 to recognize people who risked their lives to try to save or protect the lives of others.