A Baby Trapped For Three Days Under The Earth Was Rescued - 10/16/1987

US History |


Today in 1987, 18-month old Jessica McClure who had been trapped for 58 hours in abandoned water well in Midland, Texas was rescued. The event made viewers all around the globe glued to their television set.

It all happened in October 14, 1987, when baby Jessica (as she is widely known) fell down a 22-foot well while playing with other children in her aunt's backyard. She was trapped for 58 hours in the well, while people all over the world watched closely on their TV sets as efforts were made by rescue workers, expert miners and the local to save the life of the innocent child who has been trapped in the hole for two and a half days. The rescue mission was so difficult for the rescue team because she had fallen so deep in the earth, underneath hard layers of rock and the diameter of the well was narrow. A machine that was usually used to plant telephone poles was used in digging a 30-inch wide, 29-feet deep hole parallel to where Jessica was trapped and another drilled horizontal tunnel to connect the two holes.

During the process, the rescue team pumped oxygen in the well, and tried maintaining communication with the baby through a microphone where she was heard crying, wailing, moaning and sometimes singing all through the process. The whole rescue process was covered by all media house, while paramedics safely lifted the baby out of the well on the night of October 16, 1987.

After she was rescued, she was hospitalized and later underwent 15 surgeries to treat all the complications she had as the result the incident, which left her trapped for three days underground without food or water. She also lost a toe on her right foot to gangrene. While in the hospital, she and her family were flooded with gifts, flowers, cards, toys and donations worth hundreds of thousands that was set aside a trust fund for her to inherit at the age of 25. In addition, Vice President George H.W. Bush paid her a visit while President Ronald Reagan called to check on her.

Afterwards, Jessica McClure lived her life out of the public eye. She lived a normal life and graduated from Greenwood high school in 2004. Two years later, she married a man by the name Daniel Morales with which he had two children Simon and Sheyenne. In 2001, when Jessica turned 25 she was granted access to her trust fund that was reported to worth $800,000.

However, life was not easy for some of those that were involved in the rescue. Her parents divorced years later, a paramedic who played a key role in the incident committed suicide (probably because of post-traumatic stress disorder), while Jessica could not remember the incident as well.

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Nancy Reyes

Senior Writer

One of our top senior writers, Nancy came to us wanting to break away from the politics that comes with major news corporations. She leads our team of historical writers in creating the best engaging content out there that keeps our readers coming back for more. She is an enthusiast of all things medieval and has been a member of her renaissance fair group for 15 years. She received her degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California and hopes to one day travel the world.