An Australian teenager killed in the floods in Toowoomba has been hailed a hero after telling rescuers to save his brother instead of himself, moments before being swept away by the water.

13-year-old Jordan Rice, who was terrified of water and unable to swim, insisted that his 10-year-old brother Blake was taken to safety first after his family were trapped by the floods.

Jordan Rice was on his way back from a trip to buy school uniform with his mum, Donna Rice, and younger brother Blake when the “inland instant tsunami” swept through his hometown of Toowoomba, reported the Toowoomba Chronicle.

The family climbed onto the roof of their car and Ms Rice called for help. However the flood waters continued to rise and eventually a truck driver tied a rope around his waist and waded into the water to save the family.

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Jordan’s dad, John Tyson told the Toowoomba Chronicle: “All these people were just standing around until an old scrawny guy grabbed a bit of rope, wrapped it around himself and jumped in.”

Their rescuer reached Jordan first but the teenager told him “Save my brother first”.

The man was able to rescue Blake but when he went back for Jordan the rope snapped. Both mother and son were swept downstream where they managed to hold onto a tree for a while before being carried off by the floodwater.

“Jordan can’t swim and is terrified of water. But when the man went to rescue him, he said, ‘Save my brother first’,” Tyson said.

“I can only imagine what was going on inside to give up his life to save his brother, even though he was petrified of water.

“He is our little hero.”

Tyson described his grief at losing his partner Donna, saying: “She was my soulmate.”