17 Greatest Rescue Missions in History

13. The Fall & Rise of Baby Jessica

In 1987, millions of Americans tuned in for CNN’s Live News coverage of a heartbreaking drama. Just hours before the TV crew arrived, Reba McClure left her 18-month-old daughter in her sister’s backyard, unaware that there was an abandoned well nearby. Baby Jessica fell down 22 feet and it took almost three days for rescuers to retrieve her. The 59-hour CNN drama touched the hearts of millions, though it still had less than half the audience of The Golden Girls. 

After the rescue, emergency responders were happy to report that they didn’t find any permanent injuries. Jessica was alive and well. No pun intended.


Today, Jessica is a totally normal, brain-damage-free person. Sure, it must be frustrating that fans expect her to have developmental problems. But the $800,000 trust fund created by those very people eases that burden. Plus, she’s (sort of) famous – Eminem has a song about Baby Jessica and she inspired an episode of The Simsons, in addition to a Bollywood movie


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