CARY, N.C. (WNCN)–Maxwell Belward may be 11-years-old, but he knew to step into a situation without hesitation when it came down to saving a young child’s life.

“I see flailing arms around, and I look over and see a two year old that’s drowning. His head is under water,” Max said recalling the moment at a neighborhood community pool in Cary earlier this month.

Max said he wasn’t able to get into the pool that day because he was recovering from swimmer’s ear. It’s part of the reason he realized the moment the two-year-old wandered off from behind his mom and suddenly jumped into the water.

Max said he noticed the toddler splashing in the water but never came up to get a breathe of air. He said, “I was like ‘Oh my gosh. This kid is drowning, his mouth is closed, his eyes are open.’”

Max said he stood up and started yelling for help, but no one heard him. That’s when he decided to take matters into his own hands. Max walked to the edge of the pool, grabbed the child and pulled him to safety. “All my friends that were in the pool just looked at me and they saw the kid, and then me, and they were like ‘What just happened?’”

Max said it took him a moment to process what happened, too.

Max’s dad, Keith Belward, said they didn’t find out about the severity of the situation until later that night. Keith looked at his son and said, “To be his age and have awareness of what’s going on around him and to see something and be able to step in and take action to be able to help him out… we were extremely proud of him for that.”

Video of the event captured by surveillance cameras at the pool showed the exact moment Max rushed over to help. During the situation, Max stayed calm. He said it comes from skills he learned while at Ocean Isle Beach Surf Camp: “they teach you all about water safety, how to stay calm in the water if there is ever an emergency.”

Max’s parents said the toddler is doing okay.

They’ve been able to connect and build a closer relationship with the toddler and his family. Keith said, “We really think he was on that pool deck for a reason and you know… Max and the little boy will be forever connected through this event.”

Max, who also plays hockey for the Carolina Junior Hurricanes and lacrosse for his school’s team, has stayed humble. The 11-year-old said, “I am not necessarily a hero. I was just in the right place at the right time.” However, Max’s parents said they couldn’t be prouder of their son. Keith said, “We’re very proud of Max and he’s a hero to us.”