A 13-year-old is being called a hero for rescuing 17 of his neighbors using nothing but an air mattress during a major hurricane.

Virgil Smith, 13, of Dickinson, Texas, took shelter in an upstairs neighbor’s apartment when flood waters started rising during Hurricane Harvey. He told KTRK he knew he had to brave the flood when he got a panicked call from a friend in another building.

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“He was like, ‘VJ, can you come help us, because you know that we can’t swim,'” Virgil said.

With some help from two other neighbors, Virgil grabbed an air mattress and helped his friend’s family get to safety. Then he went back into flood waters to rescue more people. In total, he rescued 17 people from rising waters.

“I thank God that no snakes or no alligators bit us,” Virgil said.

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