Rescuer speaks on 29th anniversary of "Baby Jessica" rescue
Monday, October 17th 2016, 7:45 am MDT
By Chelsey Trahan, Reporter
Baby Jessica rescued October 16 (Courtesy: Chip McClure-Baby Jessica Page:
MIDLAND, TX (KWES) -
On October 14, 1987, 18-month old Jessica McClure was playing in her aunt's
back yard in Midland when she fell down a well.
It wasn't until October 16 that she was finally rescued. She was stuck for 58
The story captivated the world, as people were glued to the TV hoping that she
would be okay.
First responders, and even every day citizens, gave their time around the clock
to get her out safely.
Bill Bentley worked for a cable company, but he liked to go caving in his spare
time. On that day, Bentley was called to raise cable lines near the well so
they could bring a big rig in and start drilling.
"I figured out what was happening, asked them if they had anyone that had any
experience digging in a cave and I said I had that experience," said Bentley.
Bentley volunteered to dig and got rescuers harnessed in his caving equipment.
Because the opening of the well was so small, just 8 inches and Jessica was
more than 20 feet down, rescuers dug parallel to the well, then drilled upward
to get to Jessica from underneath the well.
Bentley says although those days were agonizing, a glimmer of hope kept them
"Minutes turned to hours, hours turned to days, deadline came and went,
deadline came and went. When they finally broke through, a very small hole, but
when they finally broke through the well shaft and there was a lot of
excitement at that point," said Bentley.
Nothing compares to the 58th hour on October 16. The moment rescuers and
viewers all over the world saw Jessica for the first time.
"There wasn't a dry eye in the place. I mean everybody, grown men crying," said
Bentley has not seen Jessica in person since that day. She turned 30 in March
and is a married mother of two.
As for the home where Jessica fell, it's now up for sale.
The well is closed off with a message, "For Jessica with love, from all of us"
Bentley hopes next year for the big 30th anniversary, he can finally meet her.
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