Thirty years after she was rescued from a backyard well, where she was trapped for nearly 60 hours, "Baby Jessica" has said she had God "on her side" that memorable day - and that her life is an undeniable miracle.
In October of 1987, Jessica McClure Morales was only 18 months old when she fell into a well behind her aunt's house in Midland, Texas. Across the world, viewers watched breathlessly as hundreds of paramedics, rescuers, drilling experts and contractors worked to save the baby's life. As they worked, the little girl was heard singing "Winnie the Pooh" from deep in the well.
Eventually, the rescue teams managed to drill a parallel well and then create a tunnel to where baby Jessica was trapped, and finally, at the 58-hour mark, she was brought above ground.
"I had God on my side that day," Jessica, now a married mother of two, told People Magazine. "My life is a miracle."
A widely-circulated photo of the event shows a rescue worker carrying the infant, covered with dirt and bruises, her right palm was stuck to her face.
While Jessica has no recollection of what happened, she still bears physical evidence of the dramatic day. She told People that she had to undergo 15 surgeries after escaping the well, and her right foot had to be reconstructed because it became gangrenous after it was above her head during the entire episode. She also carries a slight scar on her forehead, sustained when she fell asleep in the well as drilling commenced.
Today, Jessica - who admits she still responds to the name "Baby Jessica" - works as a special-education teacher's aide at the local elementary school, while her husband, Danny, is a foreman at a pipe supply company.
Jessica expressed gratitude for the $1.2 million donated to her by hundreds of strangers, but said that much of it was lost during a stock market dive in 2008. The rest, she said, was used simply to buy the modest house her family lives in.
"I think it's amazing that people would come together like that to donate money to a child that was not theirs," she says of the generosity of strangers. "I appreciate everything they did."
In a 2007 interview, Jessica said that because of her ordeal, she takes extra precautions with her own children.
"I kind of get a little excited every time he gets a bump or a bruise. I have learned that he's going to get many, and there's nothing I can really do about it," she admitted. "He's going to fall down, and he's going to bust his face open, and he's going to do it several different times."
Jessica added: "I've got to let him grow up. He's a good boy."