Rickenbacker jump survivor shares story with Local 10

Jessica Stavitz says jump was a bad idea

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – The 22-year-old woman who jumped off the Rickenbacker Causeway bridge on Sunday and lived to tell about it shared her story with Local 10's Jacey Birch Monday afternoon.

"I'm not paralyzed. I'm alive, so I'm thankful," Jessica Stavitz said. "I feel blessed.

Stavitz broke her tail bone, chipped her spine and fractured five back bones.

"I felt all my bones break," she said. "I started drowning, but my friend that was already in the water, he saved me."

Stavitz said she and five of her friends thought it would be fun to jump off the bridge.

The William Powell bridge is 76 feet high -- that's the equivalent of a seven story building, but the water below is only 12 to 18 feet deep.

"I was suspecting her to do something stupid like this," said her father, Julio Stavitz. "That's her nature. She's a wild girl, you know?"

But Stavtiz, the wild 22-year-old mother of a 7-year-old girl who was there when Stavitz jumped, is a bit embarrassed at the outcome.

"We were doing it for fun," Stavitz said. "It wasn't fun. It was a bad idea."

But thrill seeking may be in her genes.

Her father says he was once was arrested for jumping off a bridge in Bal Harbor.

But now bridge jumping is banned in the Stavitz family.

Stavitz is also warning others to think twice before doing something they consider harmless fun.

"You could get very hurt and you have to be very careful, because once you hit the water, you don't know what could happen," she said. "There's a hundred ways you could hurt yourself. I was a lucky one."