FAMILY and friends of a mum-of-three who was hurt after she jumped off a bridge at Brunswick Heads say she was "very lucky" to avoid a serious spinal injury.
Yani Sleep, 27, jumped off the concrete highway bridge at Brunswick Heads yesterday with her friend, Jade Gehl.
But she hit the water badly and when she surfaced, she told Jade something was wrong.
"She came up out of the water and her face was white," Ms Gehl said.
"She kept saying to me, 'my back, my back'.
"My husband Alex (Kisner) came over with the boat, he had our two kids and two of Yani's kids in the boat with him.
"Yani's husband Stephen was on the beach with their one-year-old.
"But Yani said she couldn't get in the boat.
"We just hung on to the side of the boat for ages, wondering what we should do."
Eventually, Ms Gehl and Mr Kisner were able to get Ms Sleep into the boat, lay her down on a bodyboard and take her back to the boat ramp.
"At first none of us realised how bad it was, we thought she might have pinched a muscle or something," Ms Gehl said.
"But then she started saying she was tingling. We didn't move her ... we called the ambulance.
"The ambulance and rescue vehicles assessed the situation and made the call that she needed to be airlifted because of the possibility of a spinal injury, so they took her to Brisbane."
Ms Sleep is undergoing more tests today, but her husband Stephen said she was a "very lucky girl".
"She has broken her T8 and T10 but thank god there is no spinal damage," he said.
"The rescue crew were amazing, really good at what they do, true professionals, but really Jade and Alex were the heroes, I was just on the beach with the kids.
"I know from my friends who have had spinal injuries not to move them.
"Hopefully she may be out of hospital today or tomorrow, but recovery could be weeks or months depending on the physio and her."
The ordeal has clearly shaken the group of friends, and Ms Gehl said it was a reminder how something that seemed so innocent could go horribly wrong in an instant.
She said people should think twice before jumping off any bridge.
"It was Yani's idea, she wanted to go jump off the bridge and she'd done it before," she said.
"I said, 'are you serious? It's so scary', but she'd seen kids doing it earlier that day and wanted to do it.
"She's a confident woman and she does what she wants to do.
"She's just so lucky because it could have been a whole lot worse, it's not affecting the spinal cord.
"We really want to thank all the rescue crews and emergency services because they did such an amazing job."