Captive American explorer shares video from depths of Turkish cave – NBC 6 South Florida

Rescuers from across Europe rushed to a cave in Turkey on Thursday and launched an operation to rescue an American researcher who was trapped nearly 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) below the cave’s entrance after suffering stomach bleeding.

Veteran cave explorer Mark Dickey, 40, suddenly fell ill during an expedition with a handful of others, including three other Americans, in Morca Cave in southern Turkey’s Taurus Mountains, the European Association of Cave Rescuers said.

While rescuers, including a Hungarian doctor, have reached and treated Dickey, it could be days and possibly weeks before they can get him out of the cave, which is too narrow in places for a stretcher to fit through.

In a video message from inside the cave provided by Turkey’s Communications Directorate on Thursday, Dickey thanked the caving community and the Turkish government for their efforts.

“The caving world is a really tight-knit group and it’s amazing to see how many people have responded on the surface,” Dickey said. “…I know that the Turkish government’s quick response to provide medical care is in my opinion would have saved my life. I was very close to the edge.”

Dickey, seen standing and moving in the video, said that while he was alert and talking, he was “not healed inside” and needed a lot of help getting out of the cave. Doctors will decide whether he needs to leave the cave on a stretcher or whether he can leave the cave on his own.

Dickey, who was bleeding and losing fluid from his stomach, stopped vomiting and ate for the first time in days, according to a New Jersey-based cave rescue group he belongs to. It is unclear what caused his medical problem.

The New Jersey First Response Team said the rescue will require many teams and constant medical care. The group says it is also quite cold in the cave – around 4-6°C (39-42°F).

Communication with Dickey takes approximately five to seven hours and is carried out by runners walking from Dickey to the subsurface camp, where a telephone line has been set up to communicate with the surface.

Experts said it will be a challenge to successfully save Dickey.

Yusuf Ogrenecek of Turkey’s Caving Federation said one of the most difficult tasks in cave rescue operations was widening narrow cave passageways to allow support lines to be passed through at shallow depths.

Carrying lines are labor-intensive and require experienced cave rescuers to work long hours, Ogrenecek said. He added that other difficult factors range from navigating mud and water in low temperatures to the psychological stress of being in a cave for a long period of time.

Marton Kovacs of the Hungarian Cave Rescue Service said the cave was being prepared for Dickey’s safe rescue. Passageways will be widened and the risk of falling rocks will also be addressed.

The Turkish disaster relief organization AFAD and the rescue team UMKE are working with Turkish and international speleologists on the plan to lift Dickey from the cave system, the European Cave Rescue Association said.

More than 170 people are currently involved in the rescue operation, including doctors, paramedics caring for Dickey and experienced cavers, Ogrenecek said, adding that the rescue operation could take up to two to three weeks.

Rescue teams from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Turkey are taking part in the operation.

Dickey was described by the association as “a highly trained speleologist and cave rescuer” who is well known as a speleologist or speleologist through his participation in many international expeditions. He is secretary of the association’s medical committee.

According to Ogrenecek, Dickey was on an expedition mapping the 1,276-meter (4,186-foot) deep Morca cave system for the Anatolian Speleology Group Association (ASPEG) when he ran into trouble about 1,000 meters deeper. He initially became ill on September 2nd, but it took until the morning of September 3rd for him to notify others above ground.

Justin Hanley, a 28-year-old firefighter from near Dallas, Texas, said he met Dickey a few months ago while taking a cave rescue course that Dickey taught in Hungary and Croatia. He described Dickey as optimistic and someone who sees the good in everyone.

“Mark is the guy who should be on this rescue mission, leading and advising, and for him to be the one who needs to be rescued is a tragedy in itself,” he said.

A rescue team from the Italian National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Team will fly to Turkey on Thursday evening. A total of around 50 rescuers will be ready at the entrance to the cave early Friday to take part in the operation led by Turkish authorities.

The rescue teams hope that the rescue can begin on Saturday or Sunday. Kovacs said lifting Dickey would likely take several days and that several bivouac sites would be prepared along the way so Dickey and rescue teams could rest.

The cave has been divided into several sections, with each country’s rescue teams responsible for one section.

The Hungarian Cave Rescue Service, made up of volunteer rescuers, was the first to reach Dickey’s location and administered emergency blood transfusions to stabilize his condition.


Mike Catalini in Trenton, New Jersey, Darko Bandic in Zagreb, Croatia, Justin Spike in Budapest, Hungary, Aritz Parra in Madrid, Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland and Patricia Thomas in Rome contributed to this report.

Hung is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button