Baby Survives 13-Hour Well Ordeal

Jermere McMillan, 22-months-old, is examined by a doctor in the back of an ambulance after he was rescued from a 14-foot well on a vacant lot next to his home in Frisco City, Ala., Monday morning, Nov. 1, 2004. AP

After a tense 13 hours of prayer and digging, rescue workers pulled a 22-month-old boy to safety Monday morning from an abandoned well where he fell while playing in a vacant lot.

The boy, Jermere McMillan, was described as scratched and bruised but calm when brought out for jubilant family, friends and rescue workers.

"He was as happy as he could be," said Frisco City firefighter Jimmy Brown.

The child, with his mother, Mica Wilson, was taken to a hospital in Mobile, about 60 miles south of Frisco City, for a checkup. But he was described as looking good after an ordeal that began around 4:30 p.m. Sunday when he fell into the well while playing with his older brother and sister.

Neighbors said they were unaware that a well was in the vacant lot and that grass had grown over it, obscuring the danger. An Alabama Power Co. drill and a rescue team from Mobile with special training were summoned to the site — where more than 100 gathered — to dig a separate hole and reach the baby lodged in the 14-foot-deep well.

"There was a lot of praying during the night," said a cousin, Tammy Howard. "Oh, yes, it was a miracle."

"We just thank God the baby's out and he's alive," said Brown.

Along with rescue workers and paramedics, a doctor was on the scene all night to give medical advice as the digging continued. The boy was brought out shortly before 6 a.m.

"When he came out, he saw his momma and he called out for his momma," said Howard.

The well and the hole dug for the rescue were filled with dirt to prevent another accident.

Patty Colburn, who lives across the street, said she did not know a well was in the vacant lot, where a house once stood.

"I've seen kids playing over there and I had no idea there was still an open hole over there," she said.

Brown said the volunteer fire department also did not know about the well. "The man who cuts the grass didn't even know about it," he said.

In 1987, an 18-month-old Midland, Texas, girl, Jessica McClure, created a nationwide sensation after she fell into an abandoned well and became trapped 22 feet down in a hole 8 inches wide. It took emergency crews 2 1/2 days to reach the little girl. Jessica recovered from her injuries.
  • Jaime Holguin

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