31 years ago: Rescue of 'Baby Jessica' from the well

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It was October 16th, 1987 when the whole world watched as dozens of rescue workers raced to save the life of a small girl who had fallen down a well in a saga that started two days earlier.

Her name was Jessica McClure, but she will be forever remembered in America's hearts as 'Baby Jessica.' She was just 18 months old when she fell into the 8-inch well in her aunt's backyard in Midland, Texas, on October 14. For more than two tense days, we held our collective breath as what happened next became the focus of every media outlet in the country, with Americans watching and waiting to see if the toddler could be saved in time.

VIDEO: ABC13's live coverage of the rescue of Baby Jessica
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Live coverage of the rescue of Jessica McClure, 1987

Trapped inside the tiny space, it was a tough task getting to little Jessica, but the people of Midland were just the ones to get the job done. Their wealth of gas and oil experts and workers provided the expertise needed to get to Jessica, frightened and alone, 22 feet below the ground.

VIDEO: Melanie Lawson interviews two of the rescuers
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Melanie Lawson interviews rescuers of Baby Jessica

Rescuers brought in heavy drilling equipment and carefully dug another shaft parallel to the pipe where Jessica was stuck.

It took 58 hours, but finally on the night of October 16, Jessica was pulled from the well safely. Jessica suffered a cut to her head and later had to have a toe amputated because of infection. Now a mother with children of her own, Jessica is said to have no first-hand memory of the event.
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