Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This Day in History: Oct 16, 1987: Baby Jessica rescued from a well as the world watches

Rescue worker Steven Forbes pulls up 18-month-old Jessica McClure after she was rescued from abandoned water well in Midland, Texas, Oct. 16, 1987.

View of the rescue operation to save Jessica McClure from the water well she fell into in Midland, Texas, Oct. 1987.

On this day in 1987, in an event that had viewers around the world glued to their televisions, 18-month-old Jessica McClure is rescued after being trapped for 58 hours in an abandoned water well in Midland, Texas.
The drama unfolded on the morning of October 14, 1987, when McClure fell through the 8-inch-wide opening of an abandoned well while playing with other children in the backyard of her aunt’s home day-care center. After dropping about 22 feet into the well, the little girl became stuck. Over the next two-and-a-half days, crews of rescue workers, mining experts and local volunteers labored around the clock to drill a shaft parallel to the one in which McClure was trapped. They then tunneled horizontally through dense rock to connect the two shafts. A microphone was lowered into the well to keep tabs on the toddler, who could be heard crying, humming and singing throughout the ordeal.

Oil service workers and bystanders look over the 25-foot deep hole used to rescue 18-month-old Jessica McClure in Midland, Texas, as the hole is plugged with cement, Oct. 17, 1987.


Jessica McClure well rescue Image

On the night of October 16, a bandaged and dirt-covered but alert Baby Jessica, as she became widely known, was safely pulled out of the well by paramedics. By that time, scores of journalists had descended on Midland, a West Texas oil city, and the rescue was carried out on live television before a massive audience.

David Lilly, an official from the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Carlsbad, N.M., demonstrates to rescue workers the procedure he wishes them to take in their attempt to rescue 18-month-old Jessica McClure in Midland, Texas, Oct. 16, 1987.

 FILE - In this Oct. 18, 1987 file photo, Jessica McClure, who was trapped for 58 hours after she plunged 22 feet into an abandoned water well in Midland, Texas, is seen with her mother and father, Reba and Chip. Now married with two children, Jessica McClure Morales turns 25 on March 26 and gains access to a trust fund of up to $800,000, the result of donations from thousands of sympathetic strangers across the globe glued to the television for the 58 hours until she was freed. (AP Photo/J. P. Hearn, File)


Jessica McClure, who spent more than 50 hours trapped in an abandoned well, plays with a microphone as her mother speaks to members of the media after they arrived in Lancaster, Texas, March 30, 1988.

After her rescue, McClure was hospitalized for more than a month and lost a toe to gangrene. She and her family were flooded with gifts and cards from well-wishers, and received a visit from Vice President George H.W. Bush and a phone call from President Ronald Reagan. Once out of the hospital, McClure went on to lead a normal life, spent largely out of the public spotlight. She graduated from high school in 2004, married two years later and became a mother. In 2011, at age 25, she gained access to a trust fund—reportedly worth at least $800,000—that was established following her rescue and made up of donations from people around the world.


File:President George H.W. Bush holds Jessica McClure in the Roosevelt Room at the White House (1989-07-19).jpg


Life proved more challenging for others involved in the Baby Jessica saga. McClure’s parents divorced several years after her accident, rescue workers in Midland feuded over a potential Hollywood movie deal and in 1995, a paramedic who played a key role in helping to save McClure committed suicide, possibly as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder.



Taken from: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/baby-jessica-rescued-from-a-well-as-the-world-watches [15.10.2013]

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