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Explorer Mark Dickey trapped 3,400 feet in Turkey cave shares emotional video

Rescue operation underway for ill American stuck deep in Turkish cave

In his first video since falling ill and becoming stuck in a Turkish cave, an American explorer thanked authorities for saving his life.

Mark Dickey, 40, who is described as an expert caver, was 3,400 feet below the surface in the Morca cave when he began suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding on Saturday.

“I was very close to the edge,” Mr Dickey said in a video obtained by The Associated Press.

Authorities in Turkey are working with a group of more than 150 international cave rescue experts to safely remove Mr Dickey from his location after he experienced the medical emergency.

Throughout the week, rescuers were able to send six units of blood and doctors to Mr Dickey. While his condition has improved, he may still need a stretcher to exit.

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 its extreme complexity.

The cave system is described as extremely narrow with many twists and turns, making it difficult to navigate. It typically takes a person in good health around 15 hours to exit.


Watch: Rescue operation underway for ill American stuck deep in Turkish cave

Rescue operation underway for ill American stuck deep in Turkish cave

Ariana Baio8 September 2023 00:00


Doctors deciding if Mark Dickey can walk out of cave

As of Thursday afternoon, Mark Dickey’s condition was improving and doctors were considering if he still needs a stretcher to leave, the Speleogical Federation of Turkey said in a press release.

Mr Dickey initially was determined to need a stretcher to leave after experiencing gastrointestinal bleeding.

Ariana Baio7 September 2023 23:00


Expedition was intended to set up camps and survey

The expedition that Mark Dickey set about on in the Morca cave was intended to help set up camp, survey the cave and collection information, a friend of Mr Dickey’s told The Associated Press.

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

“Mark is the guy that should be on that rescue mission that’s leading and consulting and for him to be the one that needs to be rescued is kind of a tragedy in and of itself,” Mr Hanley said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Ariana Baio7 September 2023 22:00


Watch: Mark Dickey’s message from the cave

Trapped American explorer sends video message from inside Turkish cave

Ariana Baio7 September 2023 21:00


What happened to Mark Dickey?

While on an exploration of the Morca cave in Turkey, Mark Dickey fell ill, causing the mission team to stop and alert authorities in the hopes to recieve medical attention.

It began with severe gastric pain that was escalating quickly.

Though there was initial hope that Mr Dickey could exit the cave on his own, the pain turned into gastrointestinal bleeding.

The Speleological Federation of Turkey sent a medical team and six units of blood in the following days in the hopes of stabilising Mr Dickey’s medical situation.

While doctors worked to assist Mr Dickey, cave experts began putting their teams together to figure out how to rescue Mr Dickey through one of the deepest, and very complicated, cave systems.

“A long and challenging rescue operation is initiated to carry Mark out on a stretcher,” the ECRA said in a statement.

Ariana Baio7 September 2023 20:30


How international teams plan to rescue Mark Dickey

To tackle the issue of rescuing Mark Dickey, the team of international experts has divided up the depths of the cave and assigned it to a specific team to figure out a solution for that specific area.

At multiple very narrow spots, a demolition team will need to widen them so Mr Dickey can pass through on a stretcher. They will also need to set up several camp spots on the way up to continuously monitor Mr Dickey and give him and his team sections to rest in.

To make the matter more complicated, communication between the underground team and the surface team is limited. Runners are being used to travel from the camp where Mr Dickey is to the surface where a telephone line is to speak with officials, according to AP.

Hungarian Cave Rescue Service member, Marton Kovacs, told CBS News that they were also addressing the danger of falling rocks in several places. The Hungarian team is working between the 590 to 1180-feet depths

Mr Kovacs said Mr Dickey’s exit will take several days and they hope to begin on Saturday or Sunday depending on Mr Dickey’s condition.

Ariana Baio7 September 2023 19:50


Mark Dickey delivers message to people on surface

In a video, obtained by The Associated Press, caver Mark Dickey shares a message to the people on the surface.

“Hi! Mark Dickey from nearly a thousand meters,” Mr Dickey begins.

“The caving world is a really tight-knit group and it’s amazing to see how many people have responded on the surface. We’re still waiting for communications actually to reach down here. So right now it’s a day or two days of travel for information to get back and forth. I don’t quite know what’s happened, but I do know that the quick response of the Turkish government to get the medical supplies that I needed, in my opinion, saved my life. I was very close to the edge.”

Ariana Baio7 September 2023 19:20


Mark Dickey says he was ‘very close to the edge’ in emotional first video from Turkish cave

A trapped American explorer has said he “was very close to the edge” as he thanked Turkish authorities for rescuing him in an emotional video from deep inside a cave system.

Mark Dickey, 40, became trapped 3,400ft below the surface after he suffered stomach bleeding while in the Morca cave on Saturday, sparking an international rescue mission with hundreds of caving experts brought in to help.

“I was very close to the edge,” Mr Dickey admitted in the video obtained by The Associated Press.

Ariana Baio7 September 2023 18:56


Mark Dickey is an expert cave explorer

His resume of cave explorations and expert status is endless: secretary of the ECRA medical committee, lead instructor for Caving Academy, a US-based organisation that prepares other cavers for exploration, and a national instructor for the National Cave Rescue Commission.

Having participated in many cave explorations in karst areas around the world for many years, Mr Dickey is knowledgeable and skilled – the kind of person you’d want on complicated cave exploration like the Morca mission.

Mark Dickey, the US caver who is currently trapped near Morca


Ariana Baio7 September 2023 18:10


In Photos: Rescue efforts underway

European Cave Rescue Association (ECRA) members work next to the entrance of Morca cave near Anamur, southern Turkey, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023


European Cave Rescue Association (ECRA) members and Turkish gendarmerie officers stand next to the entrance of Morca cave near Anamur, southern Turkey, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023


European Cave Rescue Association (ECRA) members and Turkish gendarmerie officers stand next to the entrance of Morca cave near Anamur, southern Turkey, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023


Ariana Baio7 September 2023 17:30

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