Hero 19-year-old Florida waitress breaks back jumping from 20ft pier to save drowning child

Hero 19-year-old Florida waitress breaks back jumping from 20ft pier to save drowning child

A heroic waitress fractured her back in three places, as well as the heel of her foot, this weekend after jumping off a pier in Daytona Beach, Florida, in order to save a drowning child.

Hanna Pignato, who is only 19 years old, rushed to help when she heard a mother screaming.

"She was screaming bloody Mary, like, just screaming, like, I could just hear the fear in her eyes," the teen said to WESH2 News. "And I was scared. Everybody was scared."

Rather than wait for help to arrive, though, Pignato decided to take matters into her own hands.

She could see that the woman's eight-year-old son had got caught in a rip tide and was being drawn further and further away from the shore, so she quickly ran from Joe's Crab Shack (where she works) to the pier, ditched her phone and jumped 20 feet into the water.

Hanna Pignato Credit: GoFundMe

Unfortunately, she landed on a sandbar that had been obscured by the rough surf. "Right when I jumped, I was, like, I'm done, like, right when I hit the bottom floor, it was like maybe two feet, three feet," she said, recalling the moment she felt her bones break from the force of the impact.

Despite her severe injuries, the young waitress still managed to swim out towards the boy.

Unfortunately, her broken back and foot had made the ordeal almost impossible for her, and she was unable to bring him back to the shore. Thankfully, though, another rescuer had made it out by that point, and Pignato herself had to be helped to safety because of her injuries.

Here's Pignato talking about the ordeal:

As a result of her selfless actions, the waitress has been left with seriously painful injuries - and huge medical bills to cover the cost of repairing them. A GoFundMe has been set up to help her pay off the debt.

"Hanna not only having a great heart, but being a surfer and a swimmer for most of her life, ran down the back steps to the pier and she jumped off in hopes to save the child. Unfortunately she landed on the sandbar, and from that impact she fractured her lower back in three places, and broke her right heel and top of her foot," the GoFundMe explains.

"In pain, she continued to swim towards the child. When she saw a man about to finally grab the boy, she swam towards shore, felt she couldn't stand and had to be dragged out of the water herself. Everyone lived including the child."

It continues:

"Hanna does not have insurance, and will be on bed rest and out of work for two months. She lives in a third story apartment stair access only so she will be resting at home for these next couple months (+). She has an amazing support system and is overwhelmingly appreciative of everyone who has been, and will be there for her. Thank you infinitely."

Hopefully, enough people will have the same selfless attitude towards Pignato as she had for that little boy, and she'll be on the road to recovery very soon.