MIDLAND, Texas (AP) _ Jessica McClure, the toddler trapped 22 feet below ground since Wednesday in an abandoned well, could survive into the weekend without serious dehydration or other ill effects, officials said.

Rescuers tunneled toward the 18-month-old girl with diamond-tipped drills today. They reported being about 2 feet from the the child late Thursday.

''She's probably so young it's not going to affect her too bad,'' said police spokesman Jeff Haile. ''The doctors say she can be there three or four days without being hurt too bad.''

The toddler, who fell into the narrow shaft as she played in a backyard with two other children, was crying and complaining of hunger Thursday, and officials took that as a good sign.

However, no food or drink was lowered to her for fear it might cause her to slip farther into the well, said Dr. Chip Klunick, an emergency physician at the scene. ''And if she choked, there would be nothing we could do,'' Haile said.

Doctors also wanted her stomach empty when they rescued her in case she needed surgery.

''She could have any kind of injuries down there. We just don't know,'' Klunick said.

Paramedics waited at the scene for the girl's rescue. Warm air was being blown into the shaft, and oyygen also was being pumped in.