If you were alive in the late 1980s you probably remember the story of baby Jessica McClure.
In 1987 the dramatic rescue of an 18-month-old girl who fell down a well in Midland Texas captivated a nation. It took more than two days for rescuers to free her from the 8-inch well casing more than 22 feet below ground. United States President Ronald Reagan was later quoted “everybody in America became godmothers and godfathers of Jessica while this was going on.”
Baby Jessica was saved after 58 consecutive hours of work. First responders believed her rescue would take less than a few hours, but the hard rock around the well wall proved to be more difficult to break than expected. After consulting mining engineers, rescuers eventually cut through the thick rock using a relatively new waterjet technology. Midland Fire Department paramedic Robert O’Donnell was finally able to crawl down, rescue Jessica, and pass her up to paramedic Steve Forbes.
Following the unprecedented media frenzy, Jessica’s life became a fixture of pop culture. The photograph of her rescue won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography. In 1989 ABC released a made for TV film based on her life starring Patty Duke and Beau Bridges featuring many of the actual rescuers as extras. Over the years many television shows like The Simpsons and Modern Family have featured story lines based on baby Jessica’s rescue.
Now 30 years later, baby Jessica comes forward to talk about her life.
Jessica McClure Morales, now 30-years-old, is a special education teaching assistant and has two children, 9-year-old Simon and 7-year-old Sheyenne.