A flying mattress carried a 79-year-old man to safety as his suburban home was leveled by a natural gas explosion, authorities and the man said.

The incident occurred Thursday morning as James Steurer was sitting on his bed in this western Chicago suburb, putting on his shoes in preparation for a visit to his daughter-in-law.Moments later, Steurer recalled afterward, he was still sitting on his mattress - outside on the driveway, blown out a side wall of his home by the force of the gas explosion.