Expert caver, Mark Dickey, became trapped in Morca cave in Southern Turkey on Saturday, September 2, when he began to battle gastrointestinal bleeding, NPR reports. As a result of his poor health, Dickey could not hike back to the cave’s entrance which, from his location, would span approximately eight hours.The Hungarian Cave Rescue Service arrived on September 3, with aid teams from Bulgaria, Italy, Croatia, Turkey, and Poland close behind, NPR also stated. The European Cave Rescue Association said that the rescue would “need many very experienced cave rescuers.”
Dickey explained that his consciousness was challenging to hold on to, according to The Guardian, saying, “I reached the point where I thought: I’m not going to live.” He had also begun to throw up copious amounts of blood. The cause of the illness is unknown. The Guardian further said that Turkey’s emergency response service was able to “‘[resolve] his stomach bleeding issues with plasma and serum support.’” Ultimately, 190 rescuers tended to Dickey. Medics were tasked with providing the 40-year-old explorer with a blood transfusion while he remained in the cave. Doctors inside the cave with Dickey spoke with rescue teams through “an established communications line,” according to CNN.
CNN also explained the complications of Dickey’s rescue as a result of the complex structure of the cave consisting of narrow and vertical paths. The news outlet also noted that the climate in the cave was very wet and the temperatures were cold, hovering around 39 degrees Fahrenheit. CBS News reported that rescuers had to “zig-zag [Dickey] up a path higher than New York’s Empire State Building.” Al Jazeera said that teams were required to use ropes to make their way through the cave.
Finally, at 12:37 am local time on Tuesday, September 12, Dickey was lifted from the cave and transported to a nearby hospital, according to Al Jazeera. The Associated Press noted that Dickey was in the cave for 500 hours, 11 days, in total. The rescue took 60 hours.
Once extracted, Dickey was eager to thank those who had participated in his saving. Specifically, he recognized his fiancée, Jessica Van Ord, for her contributions. The Associated Press reported that Van Ord climbed out of the cave and returned with four bags of fluid.
He also mentioned his gratitude to the public for paying attention to his entrapment. The Associated Press reported that Dickey specifically thanked the nation of Turkey for their devotion to his cause, saying he learned that the nation was watching, hoping, and praying he would survive.
The Associated Press also said that Dickey plans to continue caving despite his recent experiences. Specifically, he noted that would enjoy returning to Morca Cave. Dickey said, “there’s risk in all life and in this case.” While Dickey admits his medical emergency was completely unpredicted and unknown, he also believes it was a one-off. He is currently recovering at Mersin City Hospital in Southern Turkey.