Here it is in the open air. Mark Dickey, the American caver who fell ill on September 2 at the bottom of a chasm in southern Turkey, was rescued on Monday September 11, announced the Turkish Caving Federation. “Mark Dickey has been released,” the federation said, adding that “the rescue operation was successfully completed.”
The 40-year-old caver suffered an abdominal hemorrhage while exploring the Morca cave system near Mersin in southeastern Turkey with an international team. Morca is the third deepest cave in Turkey: it reaches almost 1.3 kilometers deep at its lowest point.
Mark Dickey was at a depth of 1,120 meters when the hemorrhage started. His mishap triggered what emergency services called one of the largest and most complicated underground rescue operations ever organized. An international team of 200 rescuers, explorers and doctors began carefully hoisting Dickey to the surface after administering blood transfusions. “We congratulate everyone who made their contribution,” said the Turkish Caving Federation.
“A well-known figure in the caving community”
The rescuers first strapped him to a stretcher, which sometimes had to be hoisted vertically using a rope through particularly narrow passages. The teams pulling the ropes sometimes took breaks, returning to the surface before returning underground. According to the authorities, Mr. Dickey's state of health has steadily improved in recent days.
“He is generally in good health. He continues to be supplied with liquids,” Cenk Yildiz, head of the local branch of the Turkish emergency response service, told the press late Sunday. “We solved his gastric bleeding problems with plasma and serum,” he explained.
In a video, Mr Dickey thanked the Turkish government for its help, saying its “rapid response” had “saved his life”.
According to the European Cave Rescue Association (ECRA), Mark Dickey is an experienced caver who has medical training. The New York State native is “a well-known figure in the international caving community, a highly skilled caver and a cave rescuer himself,” said ECRA, of which he is secretary of the medical committee. He is also an instructor for cave rescue organizations in the United States, this organization said.