American Mark Dickey Rescued From Turkish Cave After ‘One Of The Largest Cave Rescues In The World’


American cave explorer Mark Dickey has been rescued from a deep cave in Turkey that he’d been stuck in for roughly nine days after becoming ill, the Turkish Caving Federation announced, ending what the federation called “logistically and technically one of the largest cave rescues in the world.”

Key Facts

Dickey was carried out of the cave in a stretcher by rescuers a little after midnight local time Tuesday (Monday afternoon in the U.S.), the Turkish Caving Federation said.

His rescue comes over a week after Dickey told the European Cave Rescue Association that he had begun suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding and was unable to get himself to the surface after he had descended more than 3,600 feet into Morca Cave in Southern Turkey.

That launched a weeklong rescue mission that brought together rescuers from both within Turkey and internationally, including from Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy, Croatia, Poland the U.S.

Key Background

Dickey, a 40-year-old New Jersey man, is a researcher, an instructor with the National Cave Rescue Commission and a “well-known figure in the international speleological community,” according to the European Cave Rescue Association. He was co-leading a 14-man expedition that was attempting to map a new passage in the cave, which is 4,186 feet deep, the equivalent of about three Empire State Buildings stacked on top of each other. After falling ill, Dickey was coughing, found blood in his stool, vomited, experienced a decrease in his blood circulation and was at times only semi-conscious. Rescuers from several different agencies descended into the cave, which is extremely technically difficult to traverse and requires rappel ropes and technical climbing skills. The rescuers brought Dickey up the cave in phases.

Big Number

At least 200. That’s how many aid workers it took in total to get Dickey out of the cave by the end of the rescue mission, according to CNN.

Surprising Fact

Recep Salci, head of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, told NBC News that rescuers blasted some parts of the cave system with explosives so that it would be easier to move the explorer toward the surface.

Further Reading

Turkey Cave Rescue: What To Know About The Sick American Stuck 3,000 Feet Beneath The Surface (Forbes)

Turkey Cave Rescue: Sick American Caver Brought Halfway To Surface In Good Condition (Forbes)

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