"I saw the mom screaming and crying. Just hearing her wail terrified me," says the waitress who sprung into action

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April 15, 2019 10:17 AM

A 19-year-old waitress is recovering from a broken foot and injured back after she jumped off a pier to save a drowning 8-year-old boy, only to hit a sand bar and need rescue herself, according to reports.

Hanna Pignato said she was at work on the rooftop deck of Joe’s Crab Shack in Daytona Beach on Saturday when she saw a group of people in a panic before 8 p.m., reported the Daytona Beach News-Journal. She quickly learned the cause for the commotion: a young boy was struggling in a rip current.

“I saw the mom screaming and crying. Just hearing her wail terrified me. Then I saw the little boy … his head just kept going down,” Pignato told the publication. “I was just thinking that could be my little sister I would hope someone would save. So I jumped.”

Pignato leapt off the Daytona Beach Pier to save the little boy. When she dove in, however, Pignato hit a sandbar, injuring her back and foot, according to WESH. The boy was rescued and taken to a local hospital, the station reported.

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“I didn’t want the baby to die,” Pignato told the News-Journal. “He wasn’t a baby, he was 7 years old, 8 years old, but still I mean, that’s a human life — you just can’t look at that and walk away.”

She added: “I wasn’t thinking about the sand bar. So I injured my back and broke my foot.”

With that, authorities received a call about a boy trapped in a rip current and a young woman “lying on the beach by the pier,” Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue Capt. Tammy Malphurs told the News-Journal.

“We believe her heart is in the right place, but we do not encourage people to try and rescue people drowning,” Malphurs told the publication.

Pignato underwent foot surgery and was in recovery on Monday, according to WLKY.

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