A Daytona Beach waitress is being called a hero after she risked her life to save a boy from drowning.
The incident happened on Saturday when 19-year-old Hanna Pignato was working a shift at Joe’s Crab Shack, which is located on Daytona’s Main Street Pier. At about 8 p.m., she heard a woman screaming for someone to help her son, who’d been sucked into a rip current. “She was so scared, it scared me so bad,” Pignato says. “I surf and I swim, so I thought, I can get to that kid. I don’t even remember taking off my shoes. And then I just jumped.”
Unfortunately, Pignato didn’t realize there was a sandbar just below the pier with less than three feet of water over it. Although she broke her back and foot when she landed, she continued her mission to save the boy, swimming toward him in “excruciating pain.” The next thing she knew, she’d gone from rescuer to victim as someone else plucked her out of the water. The boy, who escaped uninjured, was also rescued.
Pignato, who’s recovering from her injuries in a local hospital, says she’s been overwhelmed with support from the community. “So many people are reaching out to me, from all over, and I didn’t think that just trying to help somebody, I would get so much love,” she says. “That’s not what I was trying to do. I was just trying to help him.”