A YOUNG woman leapt from Scotland's most famous bridge on the day she was to be sued in court.

Louise Valentine, 26, became only the fourth person to survive the 180ft drop from the Forth Road Bridge.

She suffered a broken back and serious pelvis and shoulder injuries but was plucked from the freezing waters by a passing sailor who pulled her aboard his dinghy.

Just hours earlier a court had adjourned the civil hearing where she was being sued over a motoring incident by another driver.

The civil case was due to call at Livingston Sheriff Court in West Lothian complete with witnesses but was adjourned until a later date.

Following the court delay on Wednesday Ms Valentine drove her Rover to a hotel car park near the bridge, walked halfway across the pedestrian footpath and climbed over the railings of the notorious suicide spot.

An university lecturer who was sailing a dinghy spotted her floating face up and he dragged her aboard. He then summoned help from Port Edgar marina at South Queensferry and was towed ashore by a rescue craft as an inshore lifeboat stood by.

She was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where she was in a stable condition last night.

Ms Valentine, of Loanfoot Road, Uphall, West Lothian, is believed to have tried to kill herself because of her worries over the impending court case.

A source close to the case said: ''She was being pursued in the civil court by a driver over a motoring incident and this seems to have preyed on her mind.''

The rescuer, who asked not to be named, said: ''I did what anybody would do in those circumstances. I dragged her in to my dinghy and alerted the marina who sent a rescue craft and I was towed ashore.''

A spokesman for Port Edgar marina said: ''We had a phone call at our office and we launched a rescue boat with three instructors. They acted very professionally and when the lifeboat arrived at the scene they allowed them to tow the boat back in.''

The sheriff clerk at Linlithgow confirmed Ms Valentine was at the centre of a civil hearing in which she was being sued for damages of less than #1500 but the case, which was called on Wednesday at Livingston Sheriff Court, had been adjourned until next month.

Yesterday there was no-one at Ms Valentine's home and it is understood her family are with her at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

It is estimated there are 20 to 25 suicide attempts at the bridge every years but few people survive because the impact of making the 180ft plunge is like hitting a concrete wall.