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Ordinary People Become Heroes In Jessica’s Ordeal With AM-Well Rescue

October 17, 1987

MIDLAND, Texas (AP) _ If a hero is someone who does what needs to be done when life and death are in the balance, there were many heroes who pulled together to save little Jessica McClure from an abandoned well.

These were among the key people in the 2 1/2 -day struggle that eventually got the girl out safely:

- David Lilly, 51, of Carlsbad, N.M., federal mine inspector and investigator for the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration for the past 12 years; previously worked as a coal miner in West Virginia and mined uranium and potash in New Mexico. Arrived in Midland on Thursday, the day after Jessica fell in the well, and coordinated the drilling operation. ″There was mass confusion when I got there,″ he said, but added the rescue was unlike anything he’d ever done before.

- Scott Fletcher, 24, of Midland, employed by Guy Robinson Rathole Co., was working on a highway nearby when he learned about Jessica’s fall into the well. For 2 1/2 days he used his drilling ″rat rig″ to lift and lower each man and piece of equipment into the hole they were digging.

- Paramedic Robert O’Donnell, 29, of the Midland Fire Department, arrived at 8 a.m. Thursday and stayed most of the time until the Friday night rescue. Chosen for the task for his slight build, he went into the rescue shaft and pulled Jessica from the well after rubbing petroleum jelly over her to slide her out.

- Paramedic Steven Forbes, 26, of Midland, chosen like O’Donnell for his slight build, went into the rescue shaft behind O’Donnell and lifted the girl to safety. He said he was thrilled when he wrapped his arms around her, even though she was wary of her rescuers. ″She looked at me when we got her and kept saying, ‘No.’ I just thank the Lord for letting us get her out.″

- Steve Allcorn, 25, of Odessa, a construction worker for Timber-Sharp, and one of the drillers who was on the scene most of the time. He was interviewed on ABC’s ″Nightline″ Thursday. ″I watched them pull her up and I got choked up - it was hard to control,″ he said.

- Andy Glasscock, detective sergeant for the Midland Police Department, was at the scene through most of the ordeal and was one of the first to arrive when Jessica fell in. He listened to her cries and her singing and tried to comfort her. ″I feel great, everybody ought to,″ he said after Jessica was rescued.

- Bob Hawk, 33, of Midland, concrete and asphalt dealer, lay at the edge of the rescue shaft and relayed messages from the drillers. After Jessica was rescued he said, ″I thought of my son, who’s going to be 2.″

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