An American researcher has been rescued from a cave in Turkey more than a week after he fell seriously ill 1,000m (more than 3,000ft) below its entrance.
Mark Dickey, a 40-year-old experienced caver, was on an expedition to map Morca cave in southern Turkey’s Taurus Mountains when he became seriously ill on 2 September with stomach bleeding.
The Speleological Federation of Turkey said he had left the cave after midnight local time and the rescue mission “has ended successfully”.
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Rescue effort to free US man in Turkey cave Teams from across Europe rushed to the cave – the third deepest in Turkey – when Mr Dickey became too frail to climb out himself and carried him with the help of a stretcher, making frequent stops at temporary camps set up along the way.
Following his rescue, the caver described the experience as a “crazy, crazy adventure”.
“It is amazing to be above ground again,” Mr Dickey said, as he praised the rescue operation.
On Tuesday, Mr Dickey described having to throw up large quantities of blood.
At one point he did not think he was “going to live” after his consciousness was waning.
Parents filled with ‘incredible joy’
A statement from Mark’s parents, Andy and Debbie Dickey, said the fact 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 on 3 September before other physicians and rescuers took turns caring for him.
The rescuers faced steep vertical sections and had to navigate through mud and water at low temperatures in the horizontal sections.
They also had to deal with the psychological toll of staying inside a dark and damp cave for extended periods of time.
Mark Dickey sends video message from cave
Image: Italian Alpine rescuers carry Mark Dickey on a stretcher
Around 190 experts including doctors, paramedics and experienced cavers from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Turkey took part in the rescue.
Teams of a doctor and three to four other rescuers took turns staying by Mr Dickey’s side at all times.
Image: Rescuers begin their descent on ropes. Pics: AP The rescue began on Saturday after doctors, who had administered IV fluids and blood, determined Mr Dickey could make the arduous ascent.
Before the evacuation could begin rescuers 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.
Image: Mark Dickey Mr Dickey, from Croton-on-Hudson, New York, appeared in a video on Thursday, but said he was not “healed on the inside” and needed a lot of help to get out of the cave.
He is an instructor with the US National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC) and is highly regarded in the international speleological (the study of cave exploration) community and has previously taken part in rescue missions.