How the caver trapped 3,600ft underground for TEN days was saved by rescue teams from across Europe

  • Post category:news
  • Reading time:4 min(s) read

  • Mark Dickey, 40, was on expedition to map cave in Taurus Mountains, Turkey
  • American rescued ten days after falling seriously ill 3,600ft underground  

Rescuers have saved an American caver more than a week after he fell seriously ill some 3,600ft underground.

Mark Dickey suffered stomach bleeding on September 2 while on an expedition to map the Morca cave in the Taurus Mountains of Turkey.

The 40-year-old experienced caver was too frail to climb out himself so rescue teams from across Europe raced to his aid.

Over several days they widened parts of the cave so that he could be carried through on a stretcher, then made frequent stops at temporary camps set up along the way so doctors could assess him.

Last night the Speleological Federation of Turkey said: ‘Mark Dickey is out of the cave. He is fine and is being tended to by emergency medical workers.’ He was then taken to hospital.

American experienced caver Mark Dickey, 40, has been rescued more than a week after he fell seriously ill in the Morca caves, in Turkey

American experienced caver Mark Dickey, 40, has been rescued more than a week after he fell seriously ill in the Morca caves, in Turkey

Lying on a stretcher surrounded by reporters following his rescue, Mr Dickey described the ordeal as a ‘crazy adventure’. 

‘It is amazing to be above ground again,’ he said.

READ MORE: US scientist Mark Dickey, 40, shares emotional video from 3,400ft-deep Turkish cave

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New Yorker Mr Dickey was part of a team mapping the 4,180ft Morca system, the third deepest in Turkey. 

He said that while in the cave he had started throwing up large quantities of blood. The cause is not clear.

He told reporters: ‘My consciousness started to get harder to hold on to, and I reached the point where I thought, “I’m not going to live”.’

Around 190 experts from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Turkey took part in the rescue, including doctors, paramedics and experienced cavers.

Mr Dickey was first treated by a Hungarian doctor who went down the cave on September 3. 

Teams of a doctor and three to four other rescuers then took turns staying by his side at all times.

In a brief statement, the American caver said that he felt as thought he was not going to make it out of the cave alive

In a brief statement, the American caver said that he felt as thought he was not going to make it out of the cave alive 

Mr Dickey speaking with journalists shortly after his rescue. He described the feeling as 'amazing'

Mr Dickey speaking with journalists shortly after his rescue. He described the feeling as ‘amazing’ 

Mr Dickey pictured shortly after his rescue, the caver quickly rushed to a medical tent after he emerged from the cave

Mr Dickey pictured shortly after his rescue, the caver quickly rushed to a medical tent after he emerged from the cave 

Mr Dickey is transported to an ambulance on a stretcher after he was rescued in Mersin, Turkey on September 12. Nearly 200 personnel from eight countries took part in the operation

Mr Dickey is transported to an ambulance on a stretcher after he was rescued in Mersin, Turkey on September 12. Nearly 200 personnel from eight countries took part in the operation

The experienced caver was on an expedition to map the Morca caves in the Taurus Mountains when he fell seriously ill some 3,600ft underground

The experienced caver was on an expedition to map the Morca caves in the Taurus Mountains when he fell seriously ill some 3,600ft underground

The rescue began on Saturday after doctors, who administered IV fluids and blood, determined that he could make the arduous ascent.

Before the evacuation could begin, rescuers first had to widen some of the cave’s narrow passages and install ropes to pull him up vertical shafts on a stretcher.

Mr Dickey thanked the Turkish government for saving his life with its rapid response, along with the international caving community.

A statement from his parents, Debbie and Andy Dickey, said his rescue ‘fills us with incredible joy’.




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