Turkey cave rescue: Race to save ill American Mark Dickey trapped 3,600 feet underground

Rescue operation underway for ill American stuck deep in Turkish cave

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A cave rescue mission is underway in Turkey after an ill American explorer got stuck several thousand feet below the ground in the Morca cave.

Mark Dickey, 40, who is described as an “elite caver”, was 3,600 feet below the ground on Saturday when he began suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding.

Since then, Mr Dickey has been unable to move leading a medical team to try and improve his situation so they can begin a rescue operation. As of Thursday, his condition was improving after a team sent six units of blood to him.

Over 150 rescuers from the Turkish Caving Federation, Hungarian Cave Rescue Service, National Cave Rescue Commission and more are teaming up to rescue Mr Dickey – who, as of now, needs a stretcher to be removed.

Rescuers began setting up rope lines on Wednesday as part of the effort, though it is unclear when they can begin the mission due to it’s extreme complexity.

The cave is one of the deepest in the world and the underground component is equivalent to Mount Everest.

Key Points

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A look into the depth of the Morca cave

The Turkish Caving Federation shared a photo depicting the vertical of the cave where 40-year-old American Mark Dickey is currently stuck.

An image depicting the vertical depth of the cave where Mark Dickey is

(Turkish Caving Federation)

Ariana Baio7 September 2023 15:30


GoFundMe set up for Mark Dickey

A fundraiser benefitting the rescue efforts to save American Mark Dickey from a cave in Turkey has been set up and raised over $40,000

The GoFundMe, set up by the National Cave Rescue Commission where Mr Dickey is an instructor, will be used to benefit the teams of people aiding the mission.

“The ill caver is a well-known figure in the international speleological community, a highly trained caver, and a cave rescuer himself. He has participated in caving expeditions in many karst areas of the world for many years. In addition to his activities as a speleologist, he is also the secretary of the ECRA medical committee and an instructor for cave rescue organizations in the USA,” a description for the GoFundMe reads.

Several international rescue teams are involved in the mission including some from Italy, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria and Poland.

Ariana Baio7 September 2023 15:06


Why the rescue is so complex

For rescuers to reach and remove Mark Dickey will be a very complicated process, according to the Turkish Caving Federation.

In a post from Tuesday, the federation described the extremely complicated process of removing a caver at the depths that Mr Dickey is currently at.

“The open cross-section of the Morca Cave. Mark is currently residing at the campsite at 3400 feet (1040 meters) from the entrance. It takes a full 15 hours for an experienced caver to reach to the surface in ideal conditions.”

Mr Dickey is unable to walk without assistance of now and needs a stretcher to be removed.

“The cave features narrow winding passages and several rappels,” the Turkish Caving Federation continued.

Ariana Baio7 September 2023 14:40


National Cave Rescue Commission shares photos of rescue team

Ariana Baio7 September 2023 14:30


Mark Dickey’s condition ‘continues to improve’

The Turkish Caving Federation said that medical officers and Mark Dickey’s doctor believe his condition is still improving.

In a tweet posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday, the federation said that the medical officer, Tulga Sener, spoke with Mr Dickey’s doctor to determine if he will be able to leave the cave without a stretcher.

Ariana Baio7 September 2023 14:26


Here’s what we know about the cave rescue mission so far

Mark Dickey has been at the bottom of Morca Cave for three days after falling ill while exploring underground

Ariana Baio7 September 2023 14:23

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