US explorer rescued from cave after 12 days trapped underground in Turkey

12 September 2023, 08:21 | Updated: 12 September 2023, 09:49

American Mark Dickey was trapped for 12 days in a Turkish cave
American Mark Dickey was trapped for 12 days in a Turkish cave. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

An American explorer trapped for 12 days in a Turkish cave has been rescued after being trapped underground for over a week.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Teams from across Europe rushed to Morca cave in southern Turkey's Taurus Mountains to aid Mark Dickey, a 40-year-old experienced caver who became seriously ill on September 2 with stomach bleeding.

He was on an expedition to map the cave, which is the country's third deepest.

Mr Dickey was too frail to climb out himself, so rescuers carried him with the help of a stretcher, making frequent stops at temporary camps set up along the way.

Mark Dickey speaks after being rescued from Turkey cave

"Mark Dickey is out of the Morca cave. He is fine and is being tended to by emergency medical worker in the encampment above," said a statement by the speleological federation on Monday.

"Thus, the cave rescue part of the operation has ended successfully. We congratulate all those who have contributed."

Teams from across Europe had rushed to Morca cave in southern Turkey's Taurus Mountains
Teams from across Europe had rushed to Morca cave in southern Turkey's Taurus Mountains. Picture: Getty

Lying on a stretcher surrounded by reporters following his rescue , Dickey described the ordeal as a "crazy, crazy adventure".

Read more: TikTok videos swap shoplifting tactics and explain how to avoid getting caught amid shelf theft epidemic fears

Read more: Boost for squeezed Brits as wages grow ahead of inflation after months of soaring prices in cost of living crisis

Mr Dickey was taken ill and became too frail to climb out himself
Mr Dickey was taken ill and became too frail to climb out himself. Picture: Getty

"It is amazing to be above ground again," he said, thanking the Turkish government for saving his life with its rapid response.

He also thanked the international caving community, Turkish cavers and Hungarian Cave Rescue, among others.

A statement from Mr Dickey's parents. Debbie and Andy Dickey, said the fact that their son "has been moved out of Morca Cave in stable condition is indescribably relieving and fills us with incredible joy".

The American was first treated inside the cave by a Hungarian doctor who went down the cave on September 3. Doctors and rescuers then took turns caring for him. The cause of Mr Dickey's illness was not clear.

It is not clear what caused him to be taken ill inside the cave
It is not clear what caused him to be taken ill inside the cave. Picture: Getty

On Tuesday, Mr Dickey said that in the cave he had started to throw up large quantities of blood.

He told reporters: "My consciousness started to get harder to hold on to, and I reached the point where I thought 'I'm not going to live'."

The biggest challenges for the rescuers were the steep vertical sections and navigating through mud and water at low temperatures in the horizontal sections. There was also the psychological toll of staying inside a dark, damp cave for extended periods of time.

Around 190 experts from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Turkey took part in the rescue, including doctors, paramedics and experienced cavers. Teams comprised of a doctor and three to four other rescuers took turns staying by his side at all times.

The rescue began on Saturday after doctors, who administered IV fluids and blood, determined that Mr Dickey could make the arduous ascent.

Before the evacuation could begin, rescuers first had to widen some of the cave's narrow passages, install ropes to pull him up vertical shafts on a stretcher and set up temporary camps along the way.

Mr Dickey, who is from Croton-on-Hudson, New York, is a well-known cave researcher and a cave rescuer himself who had participated in many international expeditions.

He and several other people on the expedition were mapping the 1,276-metre deep Morca cave system for the Anatolian Speleology Group Association.

Turkish authorities made a video message available that showed Mr Dickey standing and moving around on Thursday. While alert and talking, he said he was not "healed on the inside" and needed a lot of help to get out of the cave.

He thanked the caving community and the Turkish government for their efforts to rescue him.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Liverpool is giving Ms Swift a proper Scouse welcome

Taylor Swift to get proper Scouse welcome as city transforms into Taylor Town as popstar brings Eras Tour to Anfield Stadium

One of nine Egyptians, who was on trial for migrant smuggling, waves to the media as he leaves the court in Kalamata

Greek judge dismisses case against Egyptians accused over migrant ship disaster

Breaking
One person has died and several people are injured after the flight experience severe turbulence

One dead and 30 injured as flight from London to Singapore plunges 7,000 feet in ‘severe turbulence’

Main defendant Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss

Alleged leaders of suspected German coup plot on trial

Exclusive
A woman in her 50s was pronounced dead at the scene, police confirmed

XL Bully dogs who mauled woman to death were ‘almost never walked and only let out in the garden’

Iranian women attend a mourning ceremony for President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran

Mourners begin days of funerals for Iran’s president killed in helicopter crash

The new product launches on 23rd May

Greggs to launch fish finger sandwich in latest addition to menu - see if your local store has them in stock

Anne Robinson has revealed she has 'given away' her £50million fortune to her family to save it from the taxman after she dies

Anne Robinson has 'given away' her £50million fortune to her family to save it from the taxman after she dies

People attend a ceremony to pay tribute to Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi

What next for Iran’s government after death of president in helicopter crash?

Thousands of mourners packed the streets of Tabriz this morning as they mourn President Ebrahim Raisi

Thousands of mourners pack the streets as funeral procession begins for Iran’s President Raisi

Thunderstorms are returning to parts of the UK

Goodbye sunshine as parts of UK set to be battered by thunderstorms as Met Office issues weather warnings

Palestinian gunmen at a refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin

Israeli forces kill at least seven Palestinians in West Bank raid

Lord Ken Clarke has 'questions to answer' over Infected Blood Scandal minister tells LBC amid calls to revoke peerage

Lord Ken Clarke has 'questions to answer' over Infected Blood Scandal minister tells LBC amid calls to revoke peerage

Giovanni Pernice has faced further claims of workplace misconduct

Ex-Strictly star Giovanni Pernice faces new allegations as dancer accuses him of ‘doing horrendous things’ to her

Your morning news briefing, Tuesday May 21: Infected Blood, Rwanda, Assange, Weather and more

Your morning news briefing, Tuesday May 21 2024: Infected Blood, Rwanda, Assange, Weather and more

Kate is said to be 'excited' by the development

Princess of Wales ‘excited’ by progress on early years project as Palace issues update on her cancer treatment