Rescue Mark Dickey from Türkiye Cave

A medical team takes care of American caver Mark Dickey, center, 40, inside Murca Cave near Anamur, southern Turkey, Saturday, September 9, 2023. Rescue teams began the arduous operation, Saturday, to recover an American researcher who became seriously ill while at a depth of 3,000 meters. Filed under a cave entrance in Turkey.

(Marton Kovacs/Hungarian Cave Rescue Service via AP)

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Rescuers pulled an American researcher from a Turkish cave on Monday, more than a week after he became seriously ill more than 3,000 feet below the cave entrance, the Turkish Caving Federation said.

Teams from all over Europe have rushed to Murga Cave in the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey to help Mark Dickie, a 40-year-old experienced caveman who became seriously ill on September 2 with a stomach bleed. He was on an expedition to map the cave, which is the third deepest cave in the country.

Dickey was too weak to climb by himself, so rescuers carried him with the help of a stretcher, stopping frequently at makeshift camps set up along the way.

“Mark Dickie is outside Murka Cave. He is fine and being cared for by emergency medical (personnel) at the camp above,” a statement from the cave association said on Monday. “Thus, the cave rescue part of the operation has ended successfully. We congratulate all who contributed!”

Statement from Mark’s parents. Debbie and Andy Dickie said the fact that their son “was taken from Murca Cave in a stable condition is of indescribable comfort and fills us with incredible joy.”

The American was treated for the first time inside the cave by a Hungarian doctor who descended into the cave on September 3. Then doctors and rescue workers took turns taking care of him. The cause of Dickey’s illness was not clear.

The biggest challenges the rescuers faced were the steep vertical sections and navigating through mud and water at low temperatures in the horizontal sections. There was also the psychological impact of being inside a dark, damp cave for long periods of time.

About 190 experts from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Turkey participated in the rescue operation, including doctors, paramedics and experienced cavers. Teams of a doctor and three to four other rescuers took turns staying by his side at all times.

The rescue operation began Saturday after doctors, who administered intravenous fluids and blood, decided Dickey could make the uphill climb.

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

Dickey, who is from Croton-on-Hudson, New York, is a well-known cave researcher and cave rescuer who has participated in numerous international expeditions.

He and several others on the expedition were mapping the 4,186-foot-deep Murca cave system for the Anatolian Speleological Group Society. Dickey fell ill on September 2, but it took until the next morning to notify people above ground.

Turkish authorities made available a video message that showed Diki standing and moving on Thursday. While he was alerted and talking, he said that he was not “healed from the inside” and needed a lot of help to get out of the cave. He thanked the cave community and the Turkish government for their efforts to save him.

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