Heidi Klum

Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

It was sink or swim for Heidi Klum, and luckily, the supermodel leaped into action just in time to save those in grave need.

Earlier this month, while on vacation in Hawaii, the America's Got Talent judge rescued her 7-year-old son, Henry, and several grown-ups from drowning after they got caught in a riptide and were nearly swept out to sea.

Klum recounted the frightening incident to Ellen DeGeneres in an interview airing Friday. And according to the 39-year-old star—who was on vacation with boyfriend Martin Kristen and her four children—it all went down in the blink of an eye.

"It all happens so fast," Klum says. "It was so scary. I mean it happens in a second."

Although the adults who were with Henry, including the family's nanny, struggled to make it out safely, Klum says she's thankful that her son is "a really good swimmer" and that she made sure all her children learned how to swim.

"[Henry] remembers his swimming teacher," the blond beauty explains. "And he taught all of my four children how to swim—even the little one [Lou]. She is 3 1/2. If she goes in the pool, she knows what to do. She swims to the side and climbs out."

The swimming instructor's advice also echoed through Klum's mind amid the crisis: "He always told me when you're in the water, you have to be really calm and you can't stress out, and that's what I did."

Having her family safe and close to her provides yet another reason for the star to appreciate the many good things in her life as she approaches her 40th birthday on June 1.

And, as Klum revealed to DeGeneres, she's ready to party it up.

"My friend Nancy is actually doing a hat party for me, which I thought was really cute," Klum says. "Everyone has to show up in a hat. So it's all girlfriends of mine, and everyone has to wear a crazy hat."

When the supermodel copped that she hadn't figured out yet what she'll wear, DeGeneres did the next best thing: She surprised Klum by giving her a lifesaver-themed "Super Mom" hat.

Well, here's one thing we know for sure: After Klum played hero in Hawaii, we're tipping our hat off to her.

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