In the early hours of Tuesday, an American researcher named Mark Dickey was successfully pulled to safety from within the depths of a Turkish cave. His rescue came a week after he fell seriously ill more than 1,000 meters below the cave’s entrance, according to the Speleological Federation of Turkey.
Mark Dickey, a seasoned caver aged 40, became seriously ill with stomach bleeding on the 2nd of September. He was on an expedition journey to map Morca cave, located in the southern Taurus Mountains of Turkiye. The cave is recognized as the third deepest in the country.
Due to his physical frailty, Dickey was unable to exit the cave by himself. Hence, rescuers carried him using a stretcher, periodically stopping at temporary camps established along their path. His triumphant emergence on the surface was marked early Tuesday.
A statement by the Speleological Federation confirmed Dickey’s rescue from the Morca cave. They announced he was extricated from the final cave exit at 12:37 am local time on Tuesday.
Following his rescue, Dickey, whilst surrounded by the press and lying on a stretcher, recounted the episode as a “crazy, crazy adventure.” He echoed his relief to be back above ground and expressed his gratitude to the Turkish government and international caving community for saving his life.
Dickey initially received treatment from a Hungarian doctor who descended into the cave the day following his illness. The exact cause of Dickey’s illness remains uncertain.
On Tuesday, Dickey disclosed to reporters that he had begun to vomit large amounts of blood. This led to a decline in his consciousness, leading him to believe he might not survive the ordeal.
The rescue was a complex task due to the steep vertical sections of the cave, navigating through mud and water at low temperatures, and dealing with the psychological toll of prolonged confinement in a dark, damp cave.
Approximately 190 experts participated in the successful rescue operation. These experts hailed from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Turkiye. Their ranks comprised doctors, paramedics, and experienced cavers who took turns to stay by Dickey’s side, ensuring constant surveillance and care.
Before the rescue mission could progress, rescuers had to enlarge some of the cave’s narrow passages and set up ropes to haul Dickey up on a stretcher through vertical shafts.
Dickey, a resident of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, is a renowned cave researcher and a seasoned rescuer who has taken part in numerous international expeditions.
Following Dickey’s rescue, Turkiye’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency said Dickey’s state of health was “very good.” The agency also expressed its immense gratitude to all the cave rescuers from different nations for their contribution to the successful rescue operation.
The Dickey family also expressed their relief and joy stating, “The fact that our son, Mark Dickey, has been moved out of Morca Cave in stable condition is indescribably relieving and fills us with incredible joy”.