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Toddler rescued from well

By Associated Press
Published November 2, 2004

FRISCO CITY, Ala. - 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, Da'jour McMillian, 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. He was listed in good condition at the hospital, an upbeat ending to an ordeal that began about 4:30 p.m. Sunday when he fell into the well while playing with his older brother and sister.

Neighbors said that 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.

Mayor Jim Cave, who spent the night at the site, said the warm night help ward off any danger of hypothermia. A camera was dropped down the well to keep an eye on the boy, he said, and the main concern was that the hole was so small the child might not be able to breathe. "It wouldn't have taken but a little dirt on that child to suffocate him," 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 21/2 days to reach the little girl.

Today, McClure, who suffered cuts and the loss of a toe, has no memory of her ordeal and no apparent psychological baggage.

"She's just one of the kids," says her high school principal, Scott Knippa, who on May 28 watched McClure graduate from Greenwood High School, near Midland. "She doesn't seem to have any interior scars at all."

[Last modified November 2, 2004, 00:33:22]

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