A 2-year-old girl fell 20 feet down an abandoned water well in north Texas just 15 months after Jessica McClure's rescue from a well captured worldwide attention.
Amber Autry spent two hours in the well Wednesday in Springtown, about 25 miles west of Fort Worth, before rescuers pulled her out with only a split lip.On Oct. 16, 1987, 18-month-old Jessica McClure fell down a 22-foot abandoned well and was trapped for 581/2 hours before she was pulled out in front of a live nationwide television audience.
Amber and her mother, Amy, were visiting a friend, Cathy Wells, when Amber walked out of the house unnoticed. She was heard screaming as she fell down the well in Wells' yard.
"I was scared to death," said Wells. "I tried to go in the well but didn't have a rope."
Wells said she threw a stuffed animal down the shaft to keep the girl calm and then called her brothers, Kerry and Keith Chadwell.
Keith, 22, used a lariat to climb down to Amber, but when he tried to climb out with the child he found the sides of the structure were too weak.
When the Springtown Fire Department arrived, Chad-well and the girl were huddled on some boards lodged part way down the well. Firefighters feared that if the boards collapsed, the two might fall further into the well and perhaps drown.
Police Chief Larry Nix called for a wrecker with a winch that could pull the pair to safety and not collapse the well. Chadwell could be heard talking and comforting Amber as rescuers worked.
"His (Chadwell) bravery set the tone for everybody else," said Sam Cole, a firefighter.
A Parker County Emergency Crew said Amber suffered only a split lip.
Wells said the well was only discovered after the house was purchased and some kittens fell in it. The cats were rescued, she said, and since the Wells have no children they decided to just gradually fill the well with trash.