Jessica McClure
Jessica McClure Morales (born March 26, 1986) became famous at the age of 18 months after falling into a well
Water well
A water well is an excavation or structure created in the ground by digging, driving, boring or drilling to access groundwater in underground aquifers. The well water is drawn by an electric submersible pump, a trash pump, a vertical turbine pump, a handpump or a mechanical pump...

 in the backyard of 3309 Tanner Dr. Midland, Texas
Midland, Texas
Midland is a city in and the county seat of Midland County, Texas, United States, on the Southern Plains of the state's western area. A small portion of the city extends into Martin County. As of 2010, the population of Midland was 111,147. It is the principal city of the Midland, Texas...

, on October 14, 1987. Between that day and October 16, rescuers worked for 58 hours to free "Baby Jessica" from the eight-inch-wide well casing 22 feet (6.7 m) below the ground. The story gained worldwide attention (leading to some criticism as a media circus
Media circus
Media circus is a colloquial metaphor, or idiom, describing a news event where the media coverage is perceived to be out of proportion to the event being covered, such as the number of reporters at the scene, the amount of news media published or broadcast, and the level of media hype...

), and later became the subject of a 1989 ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 TV movie
Television movie
A television film is a feature film that is a television program produced for and originally distributed by a television network, in contrast to...

. As presented in the movie, a vital part of the rescue was the use of the then relatively new technology of waterjet cutting
Water jet cutter
A water jet cutter, also known as a waterjet, is a tool capable of slicing into metal or other materials using a jet of water at high velocity and pressure, or a mixture of water and an abrasive substance. The process is essentially the same as water erosion found in nature but greatly accelerated...


Media impact

Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

, then a fledgling cable news outlet, was on the scene with around-the-clock coverage of the rescue effort and it was in part due to this coverage that they were able to begin carving a niche out for themselves in the global media market. This massive media saturation of the ordeal prompted then-President Ronald Reagan to state that "everybody in America became godmothers and godfathers of Jessica while this was going on."

From the beginning, and throughout the incident, the switchboard for a local media outlet, KMID-TV, was flooded with telephone calls from news organizations and private individuals around the world, seeking the latest information on rescue efforts - and in some cases, sharing their own insight into this and similar incidents.

Ron Short, a muscular roofing contractor who was born without collarbones because of cleidocranial dysostosis
Cleidocranial dysostosis
Cleidocranial dysostosis, also called Cleidocranial dysplasia, is a hereditary congenital disorder due to haploinsufficiency caused by mutations in the CBFA1 gene also called Runx2, located on the short arm of chromosome 6....

 and so could collapse his shoulders to work in cramped corners, arrived at the site and offered to go down the shaft; they accepted his offer, but did not use it.

The photograph of her being rescued fetched the 1988 Pulitzer Prize
1988 Pulitzer Prize
-Journalism:-Letters and Drama:...

 for spot news photography to Scott Shaw of the Odessa American
Odessa American
The Odessa American is a newspaper based in Odessa, Texas, that serves Odessa as well as the rest of Ector County.The newspaper has daily editions and Sunday Editions ....


D. Lance Lunsford wrote The Rainbow's Shadow: True Stories of Baby Jessica's Rescue & the Tragedies That Followed, which was published in 2006.

American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 made a TV movie
Television movie
A television film is a feature film that is a television program produced for and originally distributed by a television network, in contrast to...

 of the story in 1989, Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure
Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure
Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure is a dramatic film, based on a true story of the rescue of 18 month old baby Jessica McClure in a water well.-Plot:...

, starring Patty Duke
Patty Duke
Anna Marie "Patty" Duke is an American actress of stage, film, and television. First becoming famous as a child star, winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at age 16, and later starring in her eponymous sitcom for three years, she progressed to more mature roles upon playing Neely...

 and Beau Bridges
Beau Bridges
Lloyd Vernet "Beau" Bridges III is an American actor and director.- Early life :Bridges was born in Los Angeles, the son of actor Lloyd Bridges and his college sweetheart, Dorothy Bridges . He was nicknamed "Beau" by his mother and father after Ashley Wilkes's son in Gone with the Wind, the book...

. The film featured, as extras, many participants in the actual rescue and its coverage.

In 1990, director Bharathan
Bharathan was an Indian film director, artist, lyricist, music director, sculptor, poster designer, editor and art director. Bharathan is noted for being the founder of a new school of film making in Malayalam cinema, along with Padmarajan, in the 1980s, which created films that were widely...

 made an Indian film in the Malayalam language
Malayalam language
Malayalam , is one of the four major Dravidian languages of southern India. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India with official language status in the state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry. It is spoken by 35.9 million people...

 titled Malootty
Malootty is a 1992 Malayalam drama film by Bharathan, starring Jayaram, Urvashi and Shamili who is the younger sister of Shalini. It based on the rescue of Jessica McClure in 1987 events set in the 1980s when a girl was trapped in a hole; she later survived after many hours. The title drawings were...

about the rescue of Jessica McClure, starring Shamili
Shamili , better known as Baby Shamili, is a Indian actress, who has primarily acted as a child actor in Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu films...

, Jayaram
Jayaram is an Indian film actor who mainly acts in Malayalam and Tamil films. He is also a chenda percussionist and mimic artist. In 2011, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India for his contribution towards the arts.-Early life:...

 and Urvashi
Urvashi (actress)
Kavitha Ranjini, better known by her stage name Urvashi , is an Indian film actress and producer. She was a prominent lead actress during the 1980s and 1990s in Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, and Telugu films. She has dubbed in her own voice in all these languages. And she produced the film Pidakkozhi...


On May 30, 2007, USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

ranked McClure #22 on its list of "25 lives of indelible impact."

An episode of The Simpsons
The Simpsons
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie...

, "Radio Bart
Radio Bart
"Radio Bart" is the thirteenth episode of The Simpsons third season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 9, 1992. In the episode, Bart receives a microphone that transmits sound to nearby AM radios...

," parodied the media attention given to McClure.

The footage of McClure being rescued is shown in Michael Jackson's music video "Man in the Mirror
Man in the Mirror
"Man in the Mirror" is a song recorded by Michael Jackson and written and composed by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett. It peaked at number one in the United States when released as a single in January 1988 off his seventh solo album, Bad. It is one of Jackson's most critically acclaimed songs and...

" and in the movie V for Vendetta
V for Vendetta (film)
V for Vendetta is a 2005 dystopian thriller film directed by James McTeigue and produced by Joel Silver and the Wachowski brothers, who also wrote the screenplay. It is an adaptation of the V for Vendetta comic book by Alan Moore and David Lloyd...


After the incident

Following her rescue on October 16, 1987, surgeons had to amputate a toe due to gangrene from loss of circulation while in the well. She also has a scar on her forehead where her head rubbed against the well casing. She has had 15 surgeries over the years, and has no first-hand memory of the event. McClure graduated from Greenwood High School
Greenwood Independent School District
Greenwood Independent School District is a public school district based in the community of Greenwood, Texas . The district's mascot is the ranger.In 2009, the school district was rated "academically acceptable" by the Texas Education Agency.-Schools:...

, in a small community near Midland, in May 2004.

On January 28, 2006, McClure married Daniel Morales at a Church of Christ
Church of Christ
Churches of Christ are autonomous Christian congregations associated with one another through common beliefs and practices. They seek to base doctrine and practice on the Bible alone, and seek to be New Testament congregations as originally established by the authority of Christ. Historically,...

 in a small rural community outside of Midland. The couple met at a day-care center where his sister worked with McClure. The couple have a son named Simon and a daughter named Sheyenne.

On March 26, 2011, when Morales turned 25, she received a trust fund
An escrow is:* an arrangement made under contractual provisions between transacting parties, whereby an independent trusted third party receives and disburses money and/or documents for the transacting parties, with the timing of such disbursement by the third party dependent on the fulfillment of...

 of donations worth up to $800,000. Her father said she had discussed setting up a trust fund for the college education of her two children. The trust fund had earlier helped in the purchase of her present home, which is less than 2 miles from the site of the 1987 incident.

Paramedic Robert O'Donnell and Midland Police Officer Andy Glasscock played crucial roles in McClure's rescue. O'Donnell suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and committed suicide in 1995. In 2004, Glasscock was arrested and charged with sexually exploiting a minor. He was convicted and currently serving a 20-year prison sentence.

See also

  • Floyd Collins
    Floyd Collins
    William Floyd Collins was a celebrated pioneer cave explorer in central Kentucky, an area that is the location of hundreds of miles of interconnected caves, including the Mammoth Cave National Park...

    , an early case of "man trapped in cave" which got similar coverage in 1925.
  • 2010 Copiapó mining accident
    2010 Copiapó mining accident
    The 2010 Copiapó mining accident, also known as the "Chilean mining accident", began in the afternoon of Thursday, 5 August 2010 as a significant cave-in at the troubled 121-year-old San José copper–gold mine. The mine is located deep in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest and harshest...

    , a similarly highly-covered event
  • Kathy Fiscus
    Kathy Fiscus
    Kathryn Anne Fiscus was a three-year-old girl who died after falling into a well in San Marino, California. The attempted rescue, broadcast live on KTLA, was a landmark event in American television history.-Biography:...

    , a child who died after falling down a well in 1949
  • Alfredo Rampi
    Alfredo Rampi
    Alfredo Rampi, nicknamed Alfredino which translates as "little Alfredo" , was an Italian child who died after falling down a well near Vermicino, a village near Frascati, on Wednesday 10 June 1981.-The incident:...

    , a child who also died after falling down a well in 1981
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo
    Tikki Tikki Tembo
    Tikki Tikki Tembo is a story set in ancient China that provided the basis for a 1968 book by Arlene Mosel, illustrated by Blair Lent. According to the story, it was custom in ancient China for parents to honor their firstborn sons with long, elaborate names that everyone was obliged to say...

  • The Well (1951 film)
    The Well (1951 film)
    The Well is a 1951 American film noir which tackled the issue of racial tensions and collective behavior. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing.- Plot :...

    A little girl falls down a well, and the town unites to save her by drilling a parallel well.

External links

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