In October 1987, 18-month-old Jessica McClure became a household name when she wandered off and fell into an abandoned water well at her aunt’s house in Midland, Texas. Stuck 22 feet beneath the surface in a slender well shaft, she was trapped for two and a half days as rescue workers struggled to determine how best to extract her.
As the media circled, rescue workers considered and abandoned a number of plans before finally deciding to dig another well shaft next to Jessica’s, then digging a tunnel to connect the two. The rescue played out on live television, creating accusations of a media circus.
“Baby Jessica” as she is now known, suffered only minor injuries, including the loss of a toe to gangrene after the rescue. Today, she’s a mother in Texas. Most of the trust fund set up for her after the ordeal was lost during the 2008 stock market crash.