Trapped American explorer sends video message from inside Turkish cave
Rescue teams could start to move trapped American explorer Mark Dickey from 3,400ft inside a cave in Turkey within hours, a report says.
An international team of cave rescuers and medical personnel have been working to stabilise the cave expert before launching a rescue operation as early as Saturday, a director at Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) told CNN.
Mr Dickey, 40, is on a mission to explore the Morca cave. But on Saturday, while exploring at 3,400 feet below the surface, he began suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding.
Authorities in Europe worked quickly to send a doctor down to Mr Dickey where they performed blood transfusions in the hopes of getting him strong enough to leave.
“I was very close to the edge,” Mr Dickey said in a video obtained by The Associated Press.
While Mr Dickey’s condition has improved thanks to a team of doctors from several countries, he may still need a stretcher to exit.
The cave system is described as extremely narrow with many twists and turns, making it difficult to navigate. It typically takes a person in good health around 15 hours to exit.
Dickey’s parents thanks rescuers for efforts
Andrew and Deborah Ann Dickey, the scientist Mark Dickey’s parents, released a statement thanking rescuers for their life-saving efforts.
“Mark is strong, but he needed his fellow cavers, including, of course, the doctors, to allow a devastatingly scary situation to turn positive,” Dickey’s parents said.
“Our prayers are being answered and we cannot express how much that means, and will always mean, to us.”
Graeme Massie9 September 2023 05:04
Who is Mark Dickey?
His resume of cave explorations and expert status is endless: secretary of the ECRA medical committee, lead instructor for Caving Academy, a US-based organisation that prepares other cavers for exploration and a national instructor for the National Cave Rescue Commission.
He also volunteers with the New Jersey Initial Response Team, a nonprofit search-and-rescue team.
Having participated in many cave explorations in karst areas around the world for many years, Mr Dickey is knowledgeable and skilled – the kind of person you’d want on complicated cave exploration like the Morca mission.
Mr Dickey was on an expedition to map the 4,186-foot-deep cave system in southern Turkey for the Anatolian Speleology Group Association.
Photos from a Facebook page that seemingly belongs to Mr Dickey show him happily preparing for the mission by inspecting all the necessary gear before embarking.
Graeme Massie9 September 2023 03:05
He built a career rescuing people from caves. Now he’s stuck in one of the world’s deepest
For five days, expert cave explorer Mark Dickey has been stuck 3,400 feet below the surface in a cave in the Taurus Moutain region of Turkey.
Mr Dickey, 40, is an experienced caver who embarked on an expedition mission to map one of the deepest caves in the world – the Morca cave system in southern Turkey.
But the expedition was suddenly cut short after Mr Dickey fell ill with gastrointestinal bleeding.
Now, a rescue team of over 150 personnel from several international organisations have combined their efforts to try to retrieve Mr Dickey, who cannot leave the cave due to the emergency medical situation.
As of Thursday, officials in the Speleological Federation of Turkey said that Mr Dickey’s situation had improved but that he would require a stretcher, making the rescue mission even more complicated.
Graeme Massie9 September 2023 01:00
What is a speleologist? Mission to extract US explorer trapped 3,400 feet deep in Turkish Cave underway
The Cave Exploration Society says Morca cave is the 74th deepest cave in the world and the third deepest in Turkey – here’s everything you need to know about Speleology.
The Cave Exploration Society says Morca cave is the 74th deepest cave in the world and the third deepest in Turkey – here’s everything you need to know about Speleology
Graeme Massie8 September 2023 20:33
Mission to bring caver to surface will start Saturday, Turkish officials say
Mark Dickey remains 3,600ft underground, but the effort to lift him to the surface is set to begin on Saturday, a director at Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) told CNN on Friday.
Dickey fell ill last weekend with suspected gastrointestinal bleeding during an exploration of the Morca Sinkhole in Morca Valley, near Anamur in southern Turkey.
Graeme Massie8 September 2023 18:31
Doctors working to improve Mark Dickey’s health
In an update from the European Cave Rescue Association (ECRA), officials said doctors are working to improve Mark Dickey’s health to the fullest extent possible before they conduct the rescue mission.
“The doctors are working to further improve the patient’s health [sic] so that the difficult transport to the surface can begin soon without further complications,” they wrote in a press release.
Officials said they believe Mr Dickey will need to use a stretcher for some of the rescue mission but the better his condition is the fewer complications there will be.
Ariana Baio8 September 2023 18:00
Mark Dickey calls rescue mission ‘great opportunity’ for international teams to work together
In a message from Mark Dickey, the expert caver said a rescue mission like the one he will embark on is an opportunity to show the world how international teams can work together.
“As you can see I’m up, I’m alert, I’m talking. But I’m not healed on the inside yet so I’m going to need a lot of help to get out of here,” Mr Dickey said in a video circulated around on Thursday.
Despite the scary situation, Mr Dickey remained hopeful and provided some positive thoughts: “This is often, in the caving world, a great opportunity to show just how well the international world can work together.”
Ariana Baio8 September 2023 16:45
The European Cave Rescue Association said on its website on Friday that the cave had been divided into seven sections, with various rescue teams taking responsibility for each of the levels down the cave. Communication lines inside the cave had also been improved, it said.
“The doctors are working to further improve the patient’s health’s so that the difficult transport to the surface can begin soon without further complications.”
Chris Stevenson8 September 2023 15:19
Members of Italy’s National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Team joined rescue teams from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Turkey late on Thursday.
The Italian organisation said six of their rescuers, including a doctor and nurse, reached Mr Dickey during the night.
The team is switching out the Hungarian doctor who has been tending to Mr Dickey with their own. The team planned to work to keep him stable for 15 to 20 hours before being replaced by another team.
Small camps are being set up at different levels inside the cave gave doctors, nurses and technicians a place to rest, the group said.
Ariana Baio8 September 2023 14:57
Dozens of rescuers in the cave
Recep Salci, a Turkeish rescue official, told HaberTurk TV that doctors gave Mr Dickey IV fluids and 4 litres of blood inside the cave.
More than 30 rescuers were inside the cave on Friday afternoon, and teams comprised of a doctor and three or four others take turns staying with the American at all times, Mr Salci said.
“Our aim is to bring him out and to have him hospitalized as soon as possible,” he said.More than 170 people, including doctors, paramedics and experienced cavers, are involved in the rescue operation.
Chris Stevenson8 September 2023 14:12