A horrifying video has shown the moment Libby Sinden broke her back after launching herself off Devil’s Bridge in Kirkby, Cumbria.
As she plunged into the water it was clear that his was a split decision which ended up leaving her wheelchair-bound for months.
The healthcare worker from Preston took the enormous leap to cool off from the summer heat in the River Lune below while her mates filmed.
The incident happened in July, 2021.
But the impact of the plunge – “like hitting a brick wall” – ruptured one of her vertebrae instantly.
Now a year on, brave Libby has posted the moment that “changed her entire life” in a stark warning to other swimmers.
Posting on her TikTok account @libby_sinden, the horrific clip shows the thrill-seeker launching herself 50ft and hitting the water below.
In the video she can be heard crying “I’ve hurt my back” while she manages to drag herself to safety before the video montage then flashes to local news stories of an emergency helicopter at the scene.
Libby lay in pain for three and a half hours while the fire service, an ambulance and mountain rescue rushed to her help.
A major six-hour operation on Libby’s spine at Preston Royal Hospital followed, leaving her with metal rods and titanium screws in her spine to fuse it back together.
She then stayed in hospital for a week before spending four months wheelchair-bound and having to learn to walk again.
The thrillseeker told Manchester Evening News: “I was one of the lucky ones not to be paralysed and have any rocks underneath.
“A lot of people jump off the bridge often. I watched quite a few people jump off it, including kids, and they were absolutely fine.
“I’d seen two people before jump in but I know over the years, hundreds or even thousands have done it. As I stood on the wall, I felt a bit of adrenaline mixed with nervousness.
“As soon as I jumped, I felt fear before I hit the water [when] I realised how high it was. It was about 50ft high.
“I decided to give it a go but I was just unlucky. The way I hit the water, it was still rather than moving, so it was almost like hitting a brick wall.”
Libby had burst a vertebrae and part of her bone went into her spinal canal, putting pressure on one of her kidneys.
She said she was “very, very close” to paralysing or killing herself.
She added: “I waited in the water. I managed to swim from one side to the other holding my back – I think it was the adrenaline. I got to the shallower bit and waited there.
“I couldn’t get out of the water until they had a way of getting me out because of a spinal injury. They eventually got me out using the platform and I got put in the air ambulance.
“I was freezing. I think I had hypothermia afterwards. Once I got to hospital, I was rushed in for emergency surgery.
“I had three metal rods and six screws made of titanium to fuse my spine and put it back together. It was a six-and-a-half-hour surgery.
“I was in hospital for a week and in a wheelchair for three or four months. I had to learn to walk again and adapt the way I do everything.
“I’ve had physio and still under that now, I’ll be in physio for quite a while.
“I was a very active person before but I’m still not allowed to run or do things that are highly active.”
“My message to other people is that it can happen to anyone at any time and that a small decision can change your entire life. Don’t do it. Everyone makes mistakes and I want to raise awareness.”
Her TikTok slides onto x-rays of bolts in her spine and photos of her looking fragile in a hospital gown.
The youngster overlaid her video’s audio with a voiceover from an episode of Euphoria where Zendaya’s character Rue wakes up in hospital.
The clip blew up with 7.6million views, 529.3K likes and 2927 comments.
Libby’s situation generated mixed reactions in terms of judgement and support.
There were comments from those who read her story who were critical of her choice to jump, saying: “People need to stop underestimating water… after a certain height it becomes like jumping on concrete.”
“I live with my dog Sahara, a rescue dog from Portugal, she’s helped incredible amounts during my recovery as well.
“I take her out walking and that’s been my main motivation – to get back to walking and playing with her.”