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American Researcher Extracted from Deep Turkish Cave After Suffering Serious Illness Over a Week Ago

by Joshua Brown
8 comments
Rescue of American Researcher from Turkish Cave

Early Tuesday, an American researcher was safely extricated from a deep cave in Turkey after being afflicted with a severe illness more than a week prior, as confirmed by the Turkish Speleological Federation.

Specialized rescue teams from various European countries had converged at Morca cave, located in the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey, to assist Mark Dickey. Dickey, a 40-year-old veteran caver, fell seriously ill due to gastrointestinal bleeding on September 2 while on a mission to chart the cave, which ranks as Turkey’s third deepest.

Physically weakened and unable to ascend on his own, Dickey was evacuated by rescuers utilizing a stretcher, pausing frequently at makeshift camps established en route.

A formal statement from the Turkish Speleological Federation announced that Dickey was brought to the cave’s final exit at 12:37 a.m. local time on Tuesday, which corresponds to 9:37 p.m. GMT on Monday. “He is currently receiving medical attention from emergency personnel at a camp situated above the cave,” the statement noted.

Mark Dickey’s parents, Debbie and Andy Dickey, expressed profound gratitude to the global caving community, medical staff, rescue teams, and the government of Turkey for their roles in rescuing their son. “The news that our son, Mark Dickey, has been safely evacuated from the Morca Cave in stable condition is overwhelmingly comforting and fills us with immense happiness,” their statement read.

Initial medical intervention for Dickey was conducted by a Hungarian physician who descended into the cave on September 3. Subsequent care was administered in turns by medical professionals and rescuers, although the underlying cause of Dickey’s illness remains undetermined.

The complexity of the rescue was exacerbated by the cave’s steep vertical segments and the challenge of traversing muddy and cold aqueous sections. Additionally, rescue personnel faced the psychological strain of spending extended durations in the dark, damp underground environment.

Approximately 190 experts from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Turkey—including doctors, paramedics, and experienced cavers—were involved in the operation. Rotating shifts ensured that a medical doctor and three to four other rescuers remained with Dickey at all times.

The evacuation commenced on Saturday when medical experts, having administered intravenous fluids and blood transfusions, concluded that Dickey was fit to endure the strenuous upward journey. Prior to initiating the rescue, teams widened some of the cave’s constricted passageways, rigged ropes to hoist Dickey on a stretcher through vertical shafts, and established temporary encampments for rest breaks.

Dickey, a resident of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, is a respected figure in the field of speleology and has himself been a participant in multiple international cave rescue operations.

At the time of the incident, he and several colleagues were surveying the 1,276-meter (4,186-foot) deep Morca cave system on behalf of the Anatolian Speleology Group Association. Although Dickey fell ill on September 2, it was not until the following morning that those above ground were alerted.

Following Dickey’s extraction, Okay Memis, the head of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, announced at a press conference that Dickey’s health was “very satisfactory.”

The European Cave Rescue Association revealed that Dickey will undergo further medical evaluation before being transferred to a hospital. It also expressed its “enormous appreciation to the numerous cave rescuers from seven different countries who contributed to the successful completion of this cave rescue mission.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Rescue of American Researcher from Turkish Cave

What happened to Mark Dickey?

Mark Dickey, a 40-year-old American researcher and experienced caver, was rescued from Morca cave in Turkey’s Taurus Mountains after suffering from severe gastrointestinal bleeding more than a week prior to his rescue.

Who was involved in the rescue operation?

The rescue operation involved around 190 experts from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Turkey. The team consisted of medical doctors, paramedics, and experienced cavers who took turns staying with Dickey to administer care.

What were the challenges faced during the rescue?

The operation faced multiple challenges including the cave’s steep vertical segments, traversing muddy and cold aqueous sections, and the psychological strain of spending extended periods in a dark, damp environment.

When did the rescue begin and end?

The rescue operation began on Saturday, after medical experts determined that Dickey could withstand the arduous journey to the surface. He was safely brought to the cave’s final exit at 12:37 a.m. local time on the following Tuesday.

How was Dickey’s health post-rescue?

According to Okay Memis, the head of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, Mark Dickey’s health post-rescue was described as “very satisfactory.” He is expected to undergo further medical evaluation before being transferred to a hospital.

Who issued the official statement regarding Dickey’s rescue?

The official statement was released by the Turkish Speleological Federation, confirming that Dickey had been safely extracted from the cave and was receiving medical attention at a camp situated above the cave.

What was the purpose of Mark Dickey’s presence in Morca Cave?

Mark Dickey was on an expedition to map Morca Cave, which is the third deepest cave in Turkey. He and his team were surveying the cave system on behalf of the Anatolian Speleology Group Association.

How did Mark Dickey’s parents react to the successful rescue?

Mark Dickey’s parents, Debbie and Andy Dickey, expressed their immense happiness and profound gratitude to the international caving community, medical staff, rescue teams, and the Turkish government for their roles in rescuing their son.

What will happen to the rescue equipment left in the cave?

The European Cave Rescue Association stated that many cave rescuers remained in the cave to remove ropes and other rescue equipment used during the operation.

Was the cause of Dickey’s illness determined?

As of the last update, the specific cause of Mark Dickey’s gastrointestinal bleeding was not clear. Medical professionals are expected to conduct further evaluations.

More about Rescue of American Researcher from Turkish Cave

  • Turkish Speleological Federation Official Statement
  • European Cave Rescue Association Press Release
  • Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency Announcement
  • Anatolian Speleology Group Association
  • Taurus Mountains Geographic Information
  • Cave Rescue Operations and Techniques
  • Medical Challenges in Cave Rescues

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8 comments

GeoNerd September 12, 2023 - 2:45 am

The Taurus Mountains have the third deepest cave in Turkey? gotta put that on my list of places to explore. But with precautions, of course.

Reply
CaveExplorer September 12, 2023 - 5:01 am

insane to think he was 1000 meters underground. As someone who’s done a bit of caving, that’s like another world down there. Scary and amazing at the same time.

Reply
MediGal September 12, 2023 - 5:33 am

Impressed by the medical teams. Administering IV fluids and taking care of a patient in such conditions is no joke. true heroes.

Reply
PoliticalWatcher September 12, 2023 - 12:53 pm

Good on the Turkish gov for facilitating this. In a world with so much conflict, its refreshing to see international cooperation save a life.

Reply
TravelGuru September 12, 2023 - 3:32 pm

Did I get this right, they had to WIDEN the cave passages to get him out? Man, that’s some next-level rescue operation. Makes you rethink those adventure trips huh.

Reply
Tom_in_Finance September 12, 2023 - 6:26 pm

Timing is everything in such rescues, and it seems like every second counted here. Glad he’s okay and it also shows why we need to invest in emergency services.

Reply
JohnDoe123 September 12, 2023 - 11:24 pm

Wow, what an incredible story. Can’t even imagine what Mark Dickey went through. Hats off to the rescuers from all over Europe. Teamwork at its best!

Reply
SophieQ September 12, 2023 - 11:52 pm

So happy for his parents, can’t imagine the relief they must feel. Family is everything.

Reply

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