A waitress is recovering after trying to save a child

Local News

(CNN) — A 19-year-old waitress is recovering in the hospital after diving off of a pier in Daytona beach to save a child stuck in a rip current,  but she also had to be rescued herself. 

Claire Metz reports that Hanna Pignato was working the rooftop at Crabby Joe’s restaurant just before 8 p.m. Saturday night when she realized a child was struggling in a rip current.

She ran down to pier level and jumped in, it was at least a 20-foot drop.

“Right when I jumped I was like I’m done like… Right when I hit the bottom floor it was like maybe 2 feet, 3 feet.,” said Hanna Pignato, waitress.

Despite broken bones in her foot and back, Pignato has just one regret that she didn’t go deeper.

“Like I’m a good swimmer so I was like I can get to this kid but I should have walked down to the pier a little bit more and done it so much better,” said Pignato.

Instead, Pignato hit a sandbar and needed rescuing herself.. but she said she had to act as she watched the child being pulled farther and farther out. Barely keeping his head up, the child’s mother shouted for help.

“She was screaming bloody mary. Like just screaming, like I could just hear the fear in her eyes. I was scared everybody was scared. I’m like thinking in my head, that kid is going to die because no one is in the water,” said Pignato.

In those panicked moments, Pignato says the rough surf may have led her to misjudge the depth… But ultimately the often emotional young woman said there was really no time to think about her action.

“I love when families are with families because I know what it’s like not to have my family and I didn’t want her to go home without hers,” said Pignato.

That both she and the drowning child are still alive.

“I’m just happy, I’m thankful, I’m grateful,” said Pignato.

The 8-year-old was saved by bystanders and beach safety officers.. he swallowed a lot of water so he was taken to the hospital as a precaution. 

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