Jessica McClure Morales (born March 26, 1986) became famous at the age of 18 months after falling into a
well in her aunt's backyard in
Midland, Texas, on October 14, 1987. Between that day and October 16, rescuers worked nonstop for 58 hours to free her from the eight-inch (20 cm)
well casing 22 feet (6.7 m) below the groundRescuing McClure proved to be a much more difficult ordeal than initially anticipated. Within hours of discovering the situation, the Midland Fire and Police Departments devised a plan that involved drilling an additional shaft parallel to the well and then drilling a perpendicular tunnel from that shaft toward where McClure was stuck in the well. Enlisting the help of a variety of local (often out-of-work) oil-drillers, the Midland officials had hoped to free McClure in a matter of minutes. However, the first drillers to arrive on the scene found their tools barely adequate in penetrating the thick rock that surrounded the well. It would take approximately six hours to complete the parallel shaft and a substantially longer period of time to dig the tunnel, attributable to the fact that the jackhammers used were developed primarily for drilling downward, as opposed to sideways. A mining engineer was eventually brought in to help supervise and coordinate the rescue effort. 45 hours after McClure had first fallen into the well, the shaft and tunnel were finally complete.
Ron Short, a muscular roofing contractor who was born without collar bones because of cleidocranial dysostosis 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.
Ultimately, Midland Fire Department paramedic Robert O'Donnell was able to inch his way down into the tunnel and wrestle McClure free from the confines of the well, handing her to fellow paramedic Steve Forbes, who carried her up to safety.