MIAMI – The Miami Fire Rescue Dive Team rescued a woman who jumped off the William Powell Bridge on the Rickenbacker Causeway.
According to witnesses, 22-year-old Jessica Stavitz was with friends before she jumped off the bridge after 6 p.m. Sunday.
Her roommate told Local 10's Terrell Forney that Stavitz was one of several people to take the leap off the bridge. Jessica Medina said her brother encouraged them all to do it while they the group was having a barbeque along the Causeway.
"My brother did it a lot when he was younger and me and her had never done it, so we were like 'OK, if you do it, I'll do it,' and then we decided to do it," Medina said.
She said they were scared, but decided to take the plunge anyway.
"So me, along with her, and my brother, and my friend, we all jumped," Media said. "We did not jump from like the tippy-top middle point of it, it was more down the side so it wasn't as high, but when she jumped she must have landed in like a seated position so the impact hurt her."
A man who was out snorkeling told MFR he saw Stavitz jump from the very top of the bridge. When the woman surfaced, the man noticed she was in trouble and swam to her side.
Medina claims that the snorkeler did not come to their aid and that it was her group of friends that helped Stavitz. She also said that Stavitz did not jump as part of a dare, as Miami Dade Fire Rescue had said.
"There was no dare. We did it out of fun and we all did it together, but she just hurt herself," she said. "It's an adrenaline rush but it's like, it hurts when you hit the water. It's a very scary thing. It's not something I would advise kids to do."
A lieutenant with MFR said some witnesses stated they heard people encouraging Stavitz to jump.
Officials said MFR's Dive Team was able to bring Stavitz to waiting paramedics. She was transported to Ryder Trauma Center in stable condition where she later received a CAT scan.
Stavitz fractured four bones in her back, and broke her tail bone. Her spinal cord was not injured, according to the hospital.
She is expected to be OK.
--Images courtesy of Miami Fire Rescue.