Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure (1989) - full transcript

Based on the true story of Jessica McClure who fell into a well while playing in her aunt's backyard. She was stuck in the well 22 feet down and it took rescuers 58 hours to get her out. There was fear that if they shook the earth too much with machinery, it could cause her to fall further down and die.

[Peaceful guitar music]

[playing children]

Over here!


Seven... Eight...

[baby talk]

Nine... Ten.

Ready or not, here I come!

Come on, I want to play!

You going to the big
football game on Friday

night, Manny?

- Me and the rest of West Texas.
- [radio] The stock market and

heavy trading has the Dow
plunging dramatically.

West Texas has been
plunging for eight years.

Rest of the country thinks
it's gonna catch up in one day.

Ain't gonna catch us.

- What, you in the market Manny?
- Nah. I dabble a bit in kids'

shoes and diapers
though. [chuckles]

So cute!

Gotta run. You have a nice
little day, pumpkin.

And you mind Sissy. Thanks
for watching her today, Sissy.

Sure, we'll have us
as good a time as they will.

Come on, honey. Bye!

[upbeat piano music]

You sit down here, honey,
and be a good little baby.

Jessica! Hi, honey. Hi!

How's my baby? How's my baby?

Eee! Hi Honey!

[phone rings]

It's the phone. Come on,
sit down. Go on. There you go.

You be a good girl, Jessica.
Mommy'll be right back.

[phone continues ringing]

Well, this is not me
and my husband's house.

It belongs to my sister
and you'll have to talk to her.

But I can tell you now and
save you the time, she

don't want
any. Bye.

Where's Jessica?



Jessica, are you hiding?

Jessica, are you
playing hide and seek?

Answer me, Jessica.
The game's over now.

Come out now.

[echoing crying]

Jessica? Jessica! Jessica, I'll
save you! I'll save you, baby!


[baby crying]

Jessica, oh my god! My baby!
Jessica! Jessica!

Oh my God! My baby! My baby!
Somebody help me! Jessica!

God... Oh what is it?

My baby!

My baby, she fell
down the well!

Help me get her out!

Easy, easy now. The address?

It's at 3309 Tanner Drive.

Hurry! Hurry please,
hurry, help me!

Come. You...

My baby...

Emergency rescue units
have been dispatched.

We have an 18 month-old
child that has fallen down

a water well at 3309
Tanner Drive.

[radio] We have an 18
month-old child that's

fallen down a water
well at 3309 Tanner Drive.

That's not
too far from here.

Let's go.
[police siren sounds]

[car honking]

- Thanks.
- [radio] -- on scene, request

supervisor. 18 month-old child
trapped in 8-inch well.

3309 Tanner Drive. Repeat,
unit on scene, request --

[pager beeping]

[sirens blaring]

This way!

In the back yard!

- In the back with 'em.
- Let's go, let's move!

Quick, quick, quickly!

They're on, they're
in the back!

She's down there.

- How in the hell?
- She's not too far down there.

I just went in the house for a
minute when the phone rang.

I can't see her.
What's her name?

Jessica. Her name is Jessica.


Jessica? Honey, can you hear me?

[baby crying]

She sounds farther away
than before.

How long's she been down there?

Five, ten minutes maybe?

It's okay ma'am.

I'm going to help
you get her out.


[phone rings]

- Hey chief.
- Hey.

Have a little problem here.

Do you think it's possible
for an 18 month-old child

to fall down
an 8-inch well?

- No.
- 3309 Tanner Drive.

They sure that child's
down there?

They have a lot of
personnel on the

scene. Maybe we ought to
go check it out.

I know exactly where this is.

Come on, you follow
me. Excuse me, folks.

We've got business.

Ms. McClure? I'm Carolyn
Henry, a volunteer at the

assistance program.

I'm here to help you in
any way I can.

- Don't let my baby die.
- Everybody's here to help.

I'm here to help you. Is there
someone you'd like to call?

No. I-I mean, no,
not now. Jamie.

Maybe Jamie,
she's my sister.

This is her house.

I-I was just taking care
of these kids, and the

phone rang. I just went in the
house for a second and --

Alright, fine. That's okay.

Everything's going to be
fine. If you'd like to call

your sister, Mrs. McClure,
we can do that now.

Is your husband at work?

Yes. Yes, but I don't
want to bother him at work.

I just don't, um.
They're gonna get her out soon.

These other children,
are they...?

I take care of them for
people sometimes. My baby...

- My baby...
- Alright, well perhaps then

We should contact
their mothers. Hmm?

Now, I'd be happy to do
that for you. You have to

give me the numbers of course.




We got an emergency down here.
We could use your help.

Mind if you could
come on out?

Yes ma'am.

C'mon, c'mon. Okay whoa whoa!

Okay, turn it around
here. C'mon, c'mon. Let's

- get this out of here.
- Alright.

Hold it. Hold it!

- Whoa, shut it down.
- You got it.

The vibrations... Jessica.



Vibration's making
her slip lower.

Just what are we
supposed to do?

I don't hear her.
Jessica? Jessica?

That microphone
got a long cord?

- Yeah.
- Get over here.

- Give us the microphone, Phil.
- What?

- This is my gear, you guys.
- Yeah, well we need it.

We might be able
to hear her with that.

Man, I dunno, you bust this,
they can my butt.

Alright, come on,
come on, come on.

For this, you can stay right by
the hole. Get the scoop!

- Do it.
- Alright.

- That'll give us a speaker.
- Good deal.

[canister hissing]

Just in case.

He's being
looked after right now,

but if you could arrange
to have him picked up as

- soon as possible, I --
- Sissy! I can't believe it.

- Are you okay?
- Thanks though.

I-I have to go now.
Thank you, bye bye.

Oh my God.

It's all my fault.

That, that pipe's
always been covered.

I don't know how she... Oh
god, Sissy, Sissy I'm sorry.

It's okay.

[Tape measure retracting]

It's about 19 feet down to
the kid, or whatever it is

that's blocking her. I
dunno, I can't see nothin'

- but leaves.
- Jessica?





Mommy's here.
It's gonna be okay.

Can you hear me baby?




[baby crying]

It's gonna be okay, baby.

It's gonna be okay.

It's okay, baby. It's okay.

[siren wailing]


We need to give them
room to work now, honey.

Come on. Come on. Jamie.

It's okay, baby.


How the hell are we gonna
get her outta there?

[tense music]

Get tech! Back here.

- Hey Jim, give us a statement.
- Hey, I don't even know what's

going on yet.

What do we got?

Well, she's stuck down
there alright chief.

We figure about 19 feet.

We don't know what
position she's in, or the

extent of her injuries, or
whether she's head first,

or what's keeping her
from slipping. It's...

it's like we're
blind. Backhoe here's

causing too
much vibration.

Besides that, he can only
get about ten feet.

Where's the mother?

Uh, she's over there. The
Victim's Assistance

volunteer's over there
with her trying to keep

her out of the way and,
uh, calm her down.

What were you thinking of when
you brought that thing in here?

I think it's the
right thing to do.

We need to dig a parallel
shaft to the well there.

With what? A larger backhoe
might cause a cave-in.

Chief, we passed a rathole rig
out on Loop 250.

Let's go get it then.

- Confiscate it if you have to.
- Right chief.

We'll get rid of
the fence, then.


I've been in
West Texas a long time.

There must be a hundred
thousand wells like

these. But this is a

I've never seen anything like it

How long have you been in town
now, chief? A year?

Yeah. And this is the longest
conversation we've ever had.

Why aren't they doing anything?

I'm sure they are. I'll
go talk to them.

Carolyn Henry, Victim's

Is there anything I
can tell the mother?

She's terribly

Oh, well, uh... Uh... I wish I
could tell you something

positive ma'am, but --

Mrs. Henry, do you have any
idea how that little girl got

down this hole?

Tell her we'll have her
baby out in a couple of hours.

In all due respect,
chief, do you know

something I don't know?

I mean, this ain't a
kitten up a tree.

They say they'll have her out
in a couple of hours.


We got an 18 month-old
girl named Jessica McClure

trapped down an abandoned
8-inch water well.

Uh, we got oxygen down to
her, and we can hear her.

She's been making sounds
and she seems to be alright.

We expect to have her
out in a couple of hours.

[reporters clamoring]

- That's all I got, guys.
- [reporters mumbling]

This is Rodney Wuench, KMID, TV
Channel 2 reporting live from

Southwest Midland
where --

[radio] An 18 month-old child
has fallen down an abandoned

water well in the
West Midland area.

Reports at this time are
incomplete, but in an

interview, police
spokesmen at the site said

they expect to have her
out in quote "a couple of

hours." And now, the weather.

I bet they don't
get her out alive.

Oh, God.

Sissy. Don't you think we should
call your husband now?

Wouldn't he want to know?

Yes. I mean no. Not now.

He should know what's happened.

I don't want to
bother him at work.

I'm afraid. I'm afraid to...

Can we wait?

They said only a
couple of hours!


Jessica, mommy's here!


Jessica, it's mommy!

Please talk to mommy!

Please talk to me, baby!

[baby noises]

Yes, I'm here, it's gonna
be okay I'm gonna get you

outta there!

Sissy, Sissy.

Sissy, Chip has a right
to know what's happened here.


[wailing sirens]

Now, this is if
that rig can do it.

All I can think of is to
sink a rescue shaft down

next to her, then drill
across to where we think

she is, she's about two
feet tall so that means

digging across there at
about 22 feet, that means

we're gonna have to have a
shaft of oh, 28, 29 feet deep.

How deep is the well?

Drillers we talked to said
they go down, 80 to 100

feet deep.

The steel casings go down
about 6 to 8 feet.

She's at 19 to 22 feet.

If she hasn't
slipped further down.

- Let's go with, call it plan A.
- What's plan B?

We haven't got one yet.

How's the mother
holding up?

She's calming down.

Her sister's here and we've
called her husband's boss

trying to locate him.

What should I tell her?

I'll try to keep you
informed, Miss Henry.

You tell her whatever
you think's best.

I'd like to tell you more
ma'am I wish I could but,

this isn't exactly the
blind leading the blind,

but we are...

- A new experience here.
- And at the bottom of the well

there's a, well there's
water. She slips...

Does anybody have any good news?

[baby noises]

Well, like I was
saying, tell her --

Tell her we're gonna
get her out.

Tell her everything's
gonna be okay.

I wish I knew what makes
you so sure about this. I

got a major problem here
and I'd like to speak for

myself on this. This
is a rescue operation.

I don't know who's in
charge here but I do know

that the fire department does
not chase crooks or write

tickets. Our job is
to save lives.

We'll do what we do best.
You do what you do best.

[baby noises]

This is gonna take all of us.

We got a plan, we'll see to it
that you get whatever it

- takes to implement it.
- Thank you chief.

Alright, let's get moving.

[tense music]

[instructions being shouted]

[radio music playing]

Mr. McClure? Your boss said
I could find you here.

Yeah, I'm Mr. McClure.

Is it my father? He's
been pretty sick.

No, no it isn't.

Will you come down
here for a minute?

Mr. McClure, your little
girl's trapped in a well.

We're gonna get her out.

[wailing siren]

Chip! Oh, Chip I'm sorry!

I'm so sorry!

How long has she
been down there?

Almost four hours!

Why didn't you call me?

- How'd this happen?
- I'm sorry Chip.

She's always doing
things. You know?

Come here.

Shut it off, shut it off!

Jessica? Jessica?

Talk to me Jessica.

Don't be scared baby we're
gonna make a lot of noise

but we're coming to getcha.

[baby crying]

Let's get him
in the house.

Okay baby. Good girl. Good girl.

Then we're gonna drill a
shaft down next to the

well, put a drift across, that's
kinda like a sideways tunnel.

We're gonna get her out. we're
gonna get her outta there.

But how long?

How soon can I
have my baby back?

Well, uh, I, I guess
by a couple of hours?

Is there anything
I can do to help?

No son, we don't
think she's hurt bad.

I mean she sounds pretty
good considering, and...

I think we got everything
under control.

You just stay here take
care of your family.

Bring her around!

Little more!


[harsh grinding]

Hold it hold it!


Runs in layers about four
feet deep around here,

harder than hell.

Can you get through it?

Yeah, it's gonna wear that
bit down in a hurry, gonna

need some carbine tips to
get some purchase on that

rock if we're ever gonna
get through it.

Then we'll get 'em.

[squeaking drill]

Better cut the
power to that line. We

temporarily cut power to
about six hundred homes but with

all this heavy equipment
you got coming in here,

anything hits it its gonna
fry everybody

- in the yard.
- Cut it!

You want some lights
set up for the night?

Nah we'll have
her out by then!

[babbling reporters]

-- to pray for the safety
of little Jessica McClure,

rescue efforts
are intensifying.

At this hour, a parallel
rescue shaft is being

drilled next to the water
well she fell into.

The drilling, however,
is being slowed by thick

layers of rock, caliche.

Rescuers say it will be
just a few more hours

before they are able to reach
the little girl.


[baby crying]

I don't know how long I
can take this, Manny.

I just wanna do something.

We got a crowd control
problem, I don't believe this.

I called for more security.

We're not gonna have her
out of there by dark.

[yelling reporters]

We're gonna be here for a while,
you better inform the press.

I don't want a lot of rumors
floating around. How they doing?

They're fine, until
they see the McClures.

Well then, keep the
McClures out of sight.

Yes sir.

Mr. McClure, Ms. McClure, press
is going crazy with y'all out

here. It'd sure help if
you go back inside. Please?

We believe we'll have the
little girl out soon.

We need and I repeat we
need no more assistance or help.

Everything's under control
and we're doing the best

we can with trained
rescue personnel.

Please stay clear of the

We don't have power or gas until
they, until they get her out.

When? They keep telling
us just a few more hours.

Just a few.

I'm gonna go see
if I can get us an update.

Twenty-nine feet, Twenty-five
of it solid rock.

Let's go, let's get our best
men down that hole!

- Alright!
- Excuse me.

Oh! Oh, how are the McClures?

They're still in shock.

They can't understand why
it's taking so long.

Well, we bore down 29 feet
took us most of 8 hours.

You tell them, we just
gotta dig over five feet

to the well shaft
there to get her out,

how long could that take?

- I have no idea.
- I don't either ma'am.

But if you would tell them
please, we know she's

alive we're gonna get her
out of this as soon as

- humanly possible.
- Yes sir.

I know you said you
don't need no help

- but I think I could help.
- Well, we could use it how?

I'm a spelunker.
I explore caves.

It's not for everybody.

You got a vertical cave
here and you got the right

equipment, you got caving gear?

What, like a headlamp?

Headlamps, climbing ropes,
rigging apparatus.

Where you got yours?

Home. Live about
twenty minutes from here.

- Go, go!
- Come on I'll take you.

Alright. Ready?

Let's go.

[instructions being said]


Oh my god, nothing.


Dropped 20 degrees.

Chief, chief!

Temperature in the well has
dropped down to 60 degrees.

We're looking at
possible hypothermia.

How long did you stay down?

If you can't raise the
temperature, I'm afraid we

- don't have long at all.
- Who are you?

I'm Doctor Fitzpatrick.

I just got off shift at
Midland Memorial, I'll

offer any assistance I can.

- What'd you get?
- Very little.

So we gotta get some
heat down that hole.

Or we could lose her.

Please don't
let my baby die.


As 18 month old Jessica
McClure undergoes

her 14th hour of
entrapment, rescue crews

continue to drill.

Rescuers above ground say
they can still her crying,

say that's a good sign.

Good sign meaning she's
still alive and she

doesn't appear
to be slipping.

A not-so-good sign is
the reading on the well

thermometer. It's
around sixty degrees.

Too low for a small child.

Just about an inch.

Getting only a half inch
to an inch an hour.

We got us a heater. From
the telephone company.

Oh good, gonna get some
warm air down to her.

You called them?

Nope, just showed up!

Just like the
diamond drill did.

They just dropped them off
free of charge out of the blue.

Just like the welders.

We said we didn't
need any help.

Good thing nobody
listened to us.

80 degrees, steady.

You gotta try to get
some rest, Andy.

No, not me chief.
I can't leave.

I'll stay right here,
just till we get her out.

Besides that,
she needs us.

Isn't that right, Manny?

I'm getting to know
her moods now, sir.

How's she doing?

Right now she's asleep. I hope.

Doctor, listen, is it gonna get
too dry for her down there?

No it shouldn't, there is
moisture coming up from

the well and if she's wet her
pants that'll help humidify it.

We've got the
temperature to 80 degrees.

Get something for her to
drink maybe some water?

We don't know the extent
of internal injuries, that

could do more
harm than good.

She can go 36 maybe 48
hours before dehydration

will be a factor.

How much longer?

Oh, going awful
slow, you see, we

got to go 60 inches
across there and at an

inch an hour that's
almost three days.

- Who's down there now?
- Walden.

How many times has he been down?

Three? I can't keep him up here.

Cut off his air, get
him on up here!

He can't be doing any good
as exhausted as he must be.

Walden! You get on up
here now! Come on boy!

What time is it?


4 in the morning.

Don't you have
to get home?

Not until your little
girl's safe and sound.

Do you have kids?


Yes I do.

I have a daughter
just about your age.

You do?

You're kidding.

I mean, y'all look
so young and all.

Well, we get married
pretty young around here.

Yeah I've been blessed.

I'm a grandmother too.

That's neat.

I married my
first love too.

Chip wanted a boy so bad.

Until he held Jessica
for the first time.

Then I don't think he
put her down for a year.

I kept telling him put her down
or she'll never learn to crawl.

He was worried
about being a daddy.

But he's born to it.

And Juicy, we call her
Juicy because she's

just... So cute, and all.

Let it go, baby.

Come on, come on.

I want someone
to be angry at.

I want to shoot
somebody or something.

But there's
nobody to blame.

That's all right.

It just happened.
There is nobody to blame.

I wish it was
me in that hole.

What makes us think, out
here in the middle of

nowhere, out here in
Midland, Texas, we can

pull this thing off?

- We can do it.
- I don't know.

38 years in the fire
department I've done

nothing even close
to this before.

We're just groping!

That baby's been down
there 18 hours, 10 hours

we just got 8 inches
closer to her.

Well, we got hardworking people.

I think we're gonna
need some more help.

I think you're right.

Lotta people in these parts

- drill oil wells for a living.
- At least they used

to, before it didn't
pay to drill them.

We need a miracle is
what we need.

Dammit. We're gonna get her out.

Look alive!

[TV] We have apparently
encountered a solid wall

of what one rescue worker refers
to as 'prehistoric concrete.'

Now, firemen and volunteers have
been doing their best but we

need help. We're putting out
a request for some

experienced hard rock
drillers to lend a hand.

Chief Roberts?


- I brought my little boy here.
- Aw.

Now, he's little,
but he is strong.

Now, we can lower him down
the pipe by his feet, and

he can pull that
little girl up!

Come here son.

Oh, my that's
so brave of you.

Boy we wouldn't want you
to get stuck down that

hole, now would we? No sir.

Sally Jo, get that nut and his
poor little kid out of here.


Give me the station
if you would.

[people yelling]

Alright, now listen up!

All I want is drillers and
underground and hard rock.

That's him and me. We
do it for a living.

- Excuse me.
- What's your name?

Charles Bowler.

- This is my boy Ribble.
- Howdy.

Come on through.

[melancholy music]

- Can I help?
- What? What do you want?

I said, can I help?

I heard you need thin,
strong guys to go down in

the hole there.

I said no, we're
doing fine.

Well listen, I'm the
baby's daddy, and --

Uh huh, there,
sure you are, kid.

Look, get on out of here,
we're real busy here.

Crackpots coming outta
the woodwork, ain't they?

Hey, hey!

I gotta get through, I can
help that little girl!

You ain't gonna fit in
that hole, trust me!

No I gotta get through
to talk to the chief.

They're going
about it all wrong!

I got a line on
special equipment.

Mister, we got ideas
coming in from all over.

Why don't you cooperate,
stand back there, we'll

have you out of here. Come on.


City attorney's got a line
on some expert help.

What's he got?

Well there's a mine health and
safety guy they got a hold of.

Federal government is
what he is, in Carlsbad.

Somebody's been making
some phone calls.

That's a four, five hour drive.

There have been some
other phone calls!

Clayton Williams, private
jet is ready to go get the

guy, could be here
in less than an hour.

You know, this thing
might not work out right.

If it doesn't
it's all on us.

Frankly, we could use
some help covering our butts.

All I want to do is
just talk to the man for a

few minutes, that's
all. Chief! Chief!

My names Bill Jones, my
wife's sister used to work

for this company, they got
a high powered --

We're awful busy here Mr. Jones,
I appreciate your concern

but you see those
people over there?

Every one of
them has an idea.

Somebody's got a
trained monkey.

Somebody wants to drop a
baby bottle down so she'll

climb up after it.

Soak a piece of cloth in
super clue, there's a guy

running around here someplace,
says he's got no collarbone.

Some of my people think he
might come in handy, so

I'll tell you what I'll
do, you continue your

way, I'm gonna continue mine.

Come on!

I'll be back dammit!

You're dealing with Old
Bill Jones, stubborn old

West Texas cuss --

And you are dealing
with Sally Jo Francis.

Stay behind this
barrier please sir.


Hey Robert.

How are they doing?

Just got off shift.

I got here a couple
of hours ago.

Some of the guys have been
down drilling but uh, now

we got some pros.

Is there a thing we could do?

Just stand by I guess
until they get her out.

Yeah, if they get her out.

Medic, Medic!

Get over here!

Come on buddy.

Hold him up, hold him up!

Sit back.

Here we go.

Breathe, breathe.

- They gonna get her out?
- Robert, cool.

Who's running
this thing anyhow?

The cops or us? This
is a rescue isn't it?

Everybody and his
brother's in on this thing.

This isn't a contest.
A little girl may die.

I don't care if its the
tooth fairy that gets her

out of there.

Take care of this boy.

What are you
two doing here?

Well sir, I guess we
just want to help.

You're gonna get to, soon as we
get over to where she is.

I want paramedics first ones
there, thin tough wiry ones.

Now you guys hang around
here, stay out of the way

now, be ready to
go when I call ya!

- Good man, Ribble, good man.
- Go and get her.

Look, I don't care what they
say, I want to go out there!

I just can't stay
in here no more!

I know you do Sissy, but
you know every time you go

out there those reporters
almost cause a riot!

There's a huge crowd.

I don't care about that.

I want to see my baby, I
want to talk to my baby!

[shouting reporters]

You're endangering the
operation, please step back now!

Jessica? Jessica?

Jessica, honey, it's
mommy. Can you hear me?

Charlie, shut her
down. Shut her down!

Shut her down! Shut her down!

She'll be able
to hear you now.

'Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the
Pooh, tubby little cubby all

stuffed with fluff.' Jessica?

Jessica? Honey?

'He's Winnie the Pooh,
Winnie the Pooh, willy

nilly silly old bear,
Winnie the Pooh.'


[baby noises, singing along]

It is 28 hours, now, that
18 month old Jessica

McClure has been entombed
22 feet below ground in an

abandoned water well.

Numerous rescue deadlines
have been surpassed, it is

no longer clear when they
are going to reach the

little girl.

The neighborhood
surrounding Tanner Drive

has become a campsite for
volunteers, the media,

onlookers, literally
hundreds, all awaiting her

safe return. We'll be
here until that moment,

and continue to bring
you live updates.

Rodney Wuench,
Big 2 News, Midland.

- [doorbell rings]
- I'll get it!

Sissy, don't open up that door!

[reporters shouting]

Now, I'm here to
help you people!

What are you
doing in here?

Well you see that crowd
out there don'tcha?

Now that is just the
tip of the iceberg.

A fella out there is
screaming he is from the

Enquirer, I mean he's
ready to give you

thousands for your story!

You need me, see because I can
handle a fella like that for ya.

Now I, I just
want to help.

Cuz those folks can be
brutal, and first off,

y'all gonna have to make
a statement to the press.

Why? I mean we want
to thank everyone --

Because that's the way it goes!
See what I mean?

Y'all don't know nothing
about public relations,

and that's alright, because
I am here to do that for you.

Now I got a little something
here you might want to read.

Go on, take a
look, take a look.

And here's my card.

- Jim White, Midland police.
- I'm here to help.

Well, I'm sure you are, sir.

I appreciate your concern
and your desire to help,

but you going awful fast,
now these folks here just

- don't know what hit them.
- I understand and I don't

want to steamroll anyone!

Now you gonna make
sure they get my card?

Oh yes sir I will.


He is right about
one thing though.

Y'all are gonna have to
make a statement to the

press. And that is
just the way it is.

Well I'm the head of the
family, I guess I'll do it.

Chief Roberts,
Chief Chech.

Thomas Kay, Department of Labor.
Mine Safety and Health Division.

I'm here to
help, if I can.

We were told there would
be expert help on the way.

What makes you an expert?

I'm the guy they call
after a mine disaster.

Explosion, cave in,
that sort of thing.

I have a lot of experience
going down for miners.

Dead miners.

We can show you what we got.

She's down between
19 and 22 feet.

We've stabilized the
temperature to 80 degrees,

and we're monitoring
the well for

methane gas, carbon monoxide.

The rescue shaft is as close as
we can get to that whole rig.

We decided to
cross up to get to the

shaft where she's at.

You can't do that, you break

through you bring debris
crashing down on her.

And since you can't tell
exactly where she is, you

might drill
right into her.

We'll have to go straight
across below her.

What's beneath her?

More well shaft, eighty
to a hundred feet.

What's to keep her from
slipping further down?

Nothing that we know of!

I think I'm in time, haven't
gone too far the wrong way.

I want to flatten
this drift off.

Not angle up to her, but go
straight, come up beneath her.

You're the expert.

Alright, let's go up.

You are the expert.

He's so shy, I don't
know if he can do this.

He's been in there
for twenty minutes.


I've been practicing in
front of the mirror.

You can do it.

I hope you all can hear
me, I'll try to speak loud.

I have a statement from
the whole family I'd like

to make.

I would to thank all the
help we have received from

Midland, Odessa and
the Permian basin.

I can't mention everyone,
but all the free food,

it's just unreal.

The donations of equipment
and labor have been deeply


For 24 straight hours, men
have been down that hole,

digging for hours at a
time, and some have been

down five or six times.

It's been great .I don't
know what we would have

done without all the help.

But, but with the Lord's
help, and your prayers, we

know our little girl's
gonna be alright.

[yelling reporters]

That's all for now, everybody.

I'll be back with an
update in an hour.

What you're doing is excellent.
Couldn't be any better.

As far as we're concerned,

you're now in charge of
the underground operation.

- We're here to assist you.
- Anything you want or

need all you have to do is
ask, that's the truth.

I've never had so
much power in my life.

First off, everybody in
Midland want to help, then

seems like everyone in
west Texas comes out to

help, and first thing you
know what they're coming

in from Dallas, San
Antonio, so like I say

anything this man wants!

Yes sir, yes sir,
he'll get it!


This guy just flew in from
New York, uh, claims he's

got something.

I'm an inventor.

I flew down
here on my own.

I heard about
this in the news.

In New York?

Yeah, New York, America?
It's north of here?

I got this device.

It grabs fabric, it
just won't let go.

You can pull an elephant
with it, if it was wearing

a shirt.

Alright sir, that's very good,
that's very good sir.

Well now, we have two
groups of helpers here, we...

Some people call them
kooks, we call them

honored volunteers.

We got a group right over there,
and then there's this group

over here, where we might
need these people so if

you would join them
so we could call you.

Thanks a lot!

You never know.

We might need that thing.


Officer Glasscock, can you
give us an update on the

rescue operation?

We're digging a tunnel
right down, well right

below where Jessica's at.

it's slow going but
we're getting there.

So what is it that
is taking so long?

Well like I said we're drilling
through solid rock, and --

You keep saying you'll get her.

That's just a bunch
of bull, isn't it?

- You guys are full of it --
- We're doing the best we can.

- You guys are full of it!
- We're doing the best we can,

- What if you don't get her?
- we're doing our best.

Come on Andy, what's going
on Andy? Come on Andy!

Listen we're busting
our butts out there

- you think we don't care?
- What if you don't get her?

Okay that's it!

Rodney, we're doing
everything we can to get

that little girl out.

Someone's gotta help her, chief.

Rodney, you been
out here too long.

I want you to get home, get
some rest, please, alright?

I know it's hard.

You can't do it
all yourself.

Go on. Go on.

[melancholy music]

You did great out there
with the press.

I did, didn't I?

It's gonna be all right.

We're all gonna
be alright.

She's always getting
into things, isn't she?

Yeah, getting into this,
and getting into that.

Hey Juicy.

Me and daddy love you.

Oh, Chip.

She's the most beautiful thing
that ever happened to us.

She brought us together.

I don't know what all this
means, but I just believe

that the Lord has
got a plan for us.

Y'know, for every one of
us, and that it unfolds

for the best.

That's what I hope.

You're slow, and you know
it. Just hear me out.

I got a hold of a high
speed water drill.

It's in Houston.

The man told me he's in
the headquarters of Camp

Washington, he said 'hell
yes you can use it.' It's

got 35 thousand pounds of
pressure per square inch,

it'll cut through that rock like
a hot knife through butter.

You're a persistent man,
Mr. Jones, either that or

I'm getting real tired.

I'm just like
anybody else, I

just want to help that
poor little girl.

I called the Air Force,
they said I could have the

biggest transport
they have available.

But guess what?

Federal Express got a
airplane, a 727 sitting in

Memphis waiting for me,
they're gonna fly to

Houston, pick up the
drill, and bring it right

here to Midland. Now
time is a-wastin'.

Well, what the hell, bring it
here, we'll have it for standby.

We can land the 727 in the
parking lot at the

shopping mall
over yonder.

Mr. Jones, could you land her at
the airport, please?

- Yes sir.
- Much obliged.

Now I made a list here of a few

little things we're
gonna need here.

3,000 gallon water tank.

100 gallons of diesel.

Old Boy trailer,
15 ton forklift.

They said they could have
her out in two or three hours.

- Hep and Dole!
- Yes, sir!

I want you to get this
stuff here, all of it.

Yes sir. Can do, will do.

Go get your drill, Mr. Jones!

I'm going home,
I'll be right back.

Oh, Miss Henry, I hope
your car's not trapped.

The news people put another
satellite dish over there.

You know they're beaming
this out as far away as

Italy and Australia?

Biggest news story in the
world right now.

Let's hope we can give them a
happy ending.

These guys are sure taking their
own sweet time.

I'll tell you what too, they're
going the wrong way.

They missed that well.

They could go to Mexico before
they get to that little girl.

Mark my words,
the wrong way.

Outta my way!
Alright let her go!

I want a drilling
pattern like this.

Use the star bit to punch
in holes about an inch,

inch and a half apart.

We're beginning to
get somewhere here.

It's been five hours
since we heard anything.

She asleep?

Jessica? Jessica!

- Pray she's asleep.
- Course she is.

Babies gotta nap, don't they?

Oh, Manny.



How's progress?








It's been about
forty six hours.

She should be able to go
longer without water, unless...

The dehydration could
cause her to slip.

She probably is
getting smaller.

Why can't you
go any faster?



Why can't they
go any faster?

You know they, they just,
they hang around they talk

and dawdle tell us just a
few more hours this a few

more hours that while that
little baby is down there

crying out helpless.

Oh god, maybe maybe they
don't know what they're doing.

Maybe what that guy from
Houston's saying is true.

What Houston
guy saying what?

That guy over there saying
y'all drilling the wrong way!

Chief are you going
the wrong way?

What kinda bull are you
telling these people, get

his butt out of here!

Let me handle this! You're
causing a problem, sir.

I want to talk to these people.

Hey come on, come here.

Alright, I'm going I'm going.

Get that gentleman out of town

on the first means
of conveyance.


[radio] Hey, listen to this.
Something weird happened.


Well, the bit kinda went
forward and...

Did you lose circulation?

- Yeah yeah yeah, and --
- The air quit coming back to

you, there's no
powder or chips?

That's it, that's it.

The air and the cuttings have
gone elsewhere, boys.

I think we broke through.

Bring him up.


Guys, we broke through.

Are you alright?

We broke through.

We broke through.



All right.

[baby crying]

Rod's in, she's awake.

Mr. Cay has a steel bar
through the well, that

means no matter what
happens, she can't slip

any further.

And she was just sleeping.

They can hear her,
she's awake now.

[Plane engines roaring]

It's here, it's ready to
go, they shipped three

experts from
Houston to run it!

We don't need it.

We're doing just fine,
we'll be ready to pull her

out of there before they
can get that gear in.

I have to agree.

I'm not sure
about that rig.

The high pressure hits a
crack, cracks going the

wrong way, that beam of water
could race up that crack,

slice that little girl.

It ain't either, it
don't work that way.

Look all I can say is
it'll save time and we

gotta save that
poor little girl.

Look I'm gonna tell you
the equipment is there.

You lose that little girl, I'm
gonna stir up more

crap than you or this
whole city can cover up.

You ever worked
underground before?

No sweat.

I ain't coming up without her.

Well you just widen the
hole friend, we'll send

paramedics down
to bring her up.

Thank you though.

You men get ready.

Yes sir.


I touched her, I
coulda grabbed her.

- How's she doin'?
- She's mad.

Alright buddy.

See ya chief.


Alright. It's up to you now.

You'll have to slither in
here on your back or your belly.

- Oh my god.
- You all right?


How did they do this?
It's like a grave.

Steve? Steve!

Steve you out there?

Steve! Are you there?

I'm here Robert.

I'm here.

What do we have?

God this is tight.

Can you touch her?

Just barely. I can't maneuver.


Jessica honey?

Juicy, they call you
Juicy don't they?

Can you hear me Juicy?

Man. How did they do this?

It's like I'm smothering,
I'm buried alive.

Is she making any
noise, can you hear?

Yeah she's wimpering.

I can't move,
this is awful man.

Get hold of her, can
you get hold of her?

Just barely.

I can just barely
touch one leg.

Come on, move your leg, Juicy.
Jessica move your leg honey.

Her body temperature's
okay though.

[baby coughing]

Oh my god Steve, it sounds
like she's vomiting!

Sounds like she's choking.

Move your head to
the side sweetheart!

Jessica move your head,
tilt your head baby!

Oh god! Please don't
let her choke, not now!

Can you get her out?
Can you even move her?

[baby coughing]

[baby crying, wailing]

Robert what's going on?

I don't know, Steve.

I don't think we're gonna
get her out of here, man.

I can't move. I need more room.

They say go for her.

Well I can't get at her!

Robert, try again.

I can't get her out!

I'm gonna rip her apart if
I try to pull her out of here!

[baby crying]


Honey I'm gonna come
back for you baby.

Don't cry. Please don't cry.

I'm coming back for you.

There's no way.

I don't think we're
gonna get her out alive.

What is it?

We can't get her out, sir.

He can't get her out.

I need to get just a
little closer to her.

I could only feel one leg.

I can't tell where the
other one is positioned.

You gotta give me more
room down there, I can't

feel, I can't get her out.

I'm sorry baby.

Promise I'm gonna
get you outta there.

You've got to get a new
man. Who else have you got?

That guy's a wreck
and he's a liability.

He should've pulled.

Doctor, you weren't
down in that well.

I'm still not sure.

You gotta give it a shot!

For that poor
little girl's sake!

We use it.

It's funneling in. The
bits can't get a purchase.

Keep to the bottom.
You think you can handle this?

Take me up!

You better be able to
control this thing or you

cut that little
girl in half.

[TV] It's Friday afternoon in
Midland, a time when folks

usually rush home to get
ready for the big high

school football games.

Today, the city, America,
and the world's attention

is riveted on the fate of
a brave little girl stuck

in an abandoned 8
inch water well.

People are showing their
support by placing pink

ribbons around the city.

As exhausted workers
continue their vigil at

the well head, Jessica
McClure began her

fifty-sixth hour of
entrapment below.

Rescuers are using a high
speed water drill to cut

through the rock.

We're told the device is
saving a considerable

amount of time compared to
the tools the rescuers had

been using.

They're saying they're
widening it out, I'm

sending down a worker
to even out the wall.

Alright son.

People are saying you
shouldn't go back down

there, saying you're
an emotional wreck.

I want the truth,
do you have doubts?

Are you afraid?

Doctor doesn't
think you should go.

If you don't want to go,
nobody will ever know why.

I got another
try in me sir.

I couldn't live with
myself, I was so close.

Robert, my butt's in the
sling with you on this.

You'll make it this time.

Reporters just told me that
something like this happened in

California years ago.

Radio covered it
for days. TV too.

Do I wanna know
how it turned out?

No sir I don't think so.

Jessica's been
down over 55 hours.

This is it. Tell them, doctor.

If you have to pull, if
you have to break her

bones, her arms, her
legs, don't worry.

As long as her neck back
and head are intact, we

can fix the rest.
Whatever breaks, breaks.

Do you understand?

We jerry-rigged
this from a tripod,

photographer gave it to us.

You can extend it like
that, said you needed

something to figure
what position she's in.

Remember, break her
bones if you have to, but

get her out.

Alright, this is it.

Got you a few more inches.

If you don't get her now,
this is as good as it's

gonna get. This is
our last chance.

We're getting real close.

So here's what's
gonna happen.

The paramedics are going
back down.

Well I want to be right there
when they bring her up.

I know you do, but

I don't want to create
a scene out there.

We don't know what she's
gonna look like, what

shape she's gonna be in.

We want to get her to the
hospital as fast as we

can, you're gonna be
right there with her.

- Well, I --
- He's right, Sissy.

Let them do their jobs.

- Okay.
- Okay.

Hang in there, Juicy!

We're coming to getcha!

Don't be scared baby!

I can't wait to see you.

Steve are you there?


I can still only
get one arm up.

I can feel her leg.

It's cold.


Please, God.



I can't hear her Steve.

I'm jerking her leg.

[baby crying]

Ah! Ah, thank God.
She's still alive.

She seems to be straight
up. One leg dangling down.

The other leg must be
straight up the hole.

My god. She must be in a split.

They sent down
some obstetric forceps.

They won't fit.

They're useless in here.

Give me the petroleum jelly.

I can't breathe.

Smells in here.

You're pretty ripe, Juicy.

They wanna know what's
taking so long.

When I'm finished smearing the
petroleum jelly on the

walls, I'm gonna start.

Come on.

Come on, sweetie.

She won't come, Steve.

[baby crying]

Oh my god!

Oh God I think I just pulled
her hip out of her socket!

Oh, shh, shh baby, shh.

[baby wailing]

It's back in now.

Calm down Jessica, calm down.

They're yelling at me up there,

come on, pull
her, just pull her!

Tell them I just moved her
an inch maybe that will

shut them up!


When she comes up I want
some security in case this

mob surges in
you understand?

You got it.

Alright boys, two lines,
right there to the end.

Let's let this
baby breathe.

nobody gets through,
nobody gets through. Line up.

Steve? Steve?

Tell him to pull.




Pull, Robert!

You can do it!

Come on, sweetheart.

Come on.

[baby crying]

She's moving, Steve!

She's moving!

She's moving!

She's coming!

Here she's coming!

Here she comes!

Come on honey!

[crying baby]

Come on Jessica!

Come on Jessica!

It's okay baby!

It's okay, I got you
honey, it's okay, I gotcha.

Come on. Come on that's it.

You're out Juicy.

You're out Jessica.

Come here. I'm sorry. It's okay.

Send in the spine board, Steve.

That's it, that's it.

Here it is, here we go.

Calm down, okay baby,
hi, hi sweetheart.

Okay, here we go.

I gotcha I gotcha.

It's okay, it's okay.

Here we go.

I gotcha sweetie, alright.

[cheering crowd]

[cheering, clapping]

[cheering people, fireworks]

Still gonna catch
the football game?

In my mind, it don't seem to
matter if we beat Odessa

or not. See you tomorrow.

Get some sleep!

[slow music]

We did it.

But I still
can't believe it.

Never a doubt.

It was a miracle.

I betcha we could
walk on that water.

Guess not. Let's go get a beer.

Here comes another one.

Nope. Strike two.

Scuse me sir.

I'm Rodney Wuench with KMID, can
I get your name, and what

you did in the rescue?

There weren't any names
here son, just a lot of

good men.

[southern music]