An American researcher who fell ill more than 3,000 feet below the entrance to a cave in Turkey has recovered sufficiently to be rescued in an operation that could last three or four days, a man said Friday Turkish officials quoted.
Mark Dickey, a 40-year-old experienced speleologist, suddenly fell ill with stomach bleeding during an expedition with a handful of others in Morca Cave in southern Turkey’s Taurus Mountains. Rescuers from all over Europe rushed to the cave to save him, including a Hungarian doctor who reached and treated him.
“The doctors we sent treated him very successfully,” Cenk Yildiz, a regional official with the Turkish Disaster Relief Agency, told IHA news agency. “We are now in a position to evacuate him.”
“This is a difficult operation. It would take a (healthy) person 16 hours to get out. This operation will take at least three to four days,” Yildiz continued. “Our priority is health. Our goal is to complete this operation without putting anyone in danger.
Late Thursday, members of Italy’s mountain and cave rescue team, including at least one doctor and a nurse, joined rescue teams from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Turkey. According to Turkish media reports, a Turkish helicopter was on standby near the cave entrance.
In a video message from inside the cave provided by Turkish authorities on Thursday, Dickey could be seen standing and moving. He said although he is alert and talking, he is “not healed inside” and will need a lot of help to get out of the cave.
In the message, he also 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 quick response I needed from the Turkish government saved my life. I was very close to the edge.”
The New Jersey-based cave rescue group that Dickey belongs to said he had been bleeding and losing fluid from his stomach, but that he had now stopped vomiting and had eaten for the first time in days. It wasn’t clear what caused the medical problem.
Doctors were expected to decide whether he would have to leave the cave on a stretcher or whether he could leave the cave under his own power. The New Jersey First Response Team said the rescue will require many teams and constant medical care in the cave, which is also quite cold.
According to the Hungarian Cave Rescue Service and other officials, the cave has been prepared for Dickey’s safe recovery, including widening the passageways and eliminating the risk of rockfalls.
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 Yusuf Ogrenecek of the Speleological Federation of Turkey, the researcher was on an expedition mapping the 1,276-meter (4,186-foot) deep Morca cave system for the Anatolian Speleology Group Association 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.
More than 170 people are involved in the rescue operation, including doctors, paramedics and experienced speleologists.
Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Türkiye; Robert Badendieck in Istanbul; 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; Patricia Thomas in Rome; and Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/national-international/operation-to-rescue-nj-researcher-trapped-deep-inside-turkey-cave-may-take-3-or-4-days/3640902/ Operation begins to rescue American explorer 3,000 feet deep in Turkish cave – NBC10 Philadelphia