Mark Dickey: Large-Scale Rescue Mission Underway for US Man Trapped Deep Inside Turkish Cave

Estimated read time 4 min read

A monumental rescue operation is currently underway in Turkey after Mark Dickey, an American man, found himself trapped within the intricate labyrinth of Morca Cave, which ranks as the nation’s third deepest cave system.

Since Saturday, a dedicated team of approximately 150 workers has been tirelessly working to extricate Mark Dickey, a 40-year-old explorer. Dickey, while leading an expedition to chart a new passageway within the cave, encountered a medical emergency marked by gastrointestinal bleeding.

The Turkish Caving Federation has described the operation as exceptionally challenging due to Dickey’s predicament at a staggering depth of 1,120 meters (3,675 feet) below ground.

Efforts to stabilize Dickey’s condition included the delivery of six units of blood, leading to a marked improvement by Thursday afternoon. The Turkish Caving Federation, a key player in coordinating the rescue, confirmed that the bleeding had ceased, and Dickey was now capable of walking unsupported. Nonetheless, the federation stressed that a stretcher would be essential for his safe extraction from the cave.

Describing the operation as one of the world’s largest and most technically intricate cave rescues, the federation emphasized the arduousness of the mission. They stated, “A long and challenging rescue operation is underway to transport Mark out on a stretcher.”

In a video message recorded inside the cave on Thursday evening, obtained by the Associated Press news agency, Mark Dickey expressed his gratitude to those engaged in the rescue efforts. He acknowledged the swift response of the Turkish government in providing crucial medical supplies, which he believed had saved his life, stating, “I was very close to the edge.”

Dickey conveyed that while he remained alert and communicative, his internal healing required substantial assistance for a successful cave exit.

Carl Heitmeyer, a friend and fellow caving enthusiast of Dickey, informed the BBC that Dickey had ceased vomiting and had even consumed some food for the first time in days.

However, Dr. Yaman Ozakin, a spokesperson for the Turkish Caving Federation involved in the rescue, cautioned that the operation might extend over several more days, contingent on Dickey’s condition. He explained, “The duration of Mark’s evacuation from the cave hinges on his ability to ascend without a stretcher.”

Mark Dickey: Huge rescue mission for US man deep in Turkey cave

Should Dickey require a stretcher, the process might stretch to 10-15 days or even longer, given the cave’s narrow passages necessitating widening for safe transport.

Dr. Ozakin also clarified that the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency government agency is leading the rescue, correcting earlier reports of military involvement.

Several rescue personnel from various countries, including Croatia and Hungary, have flown to Turkey to contribute to the rescue effort.

Heitmeyer expressed hope that Dickey could be rescued sooner but underscored the substantial challenges posed by the operation. He noted, “This rescue will necessitate multiple rigging teams, modification of passages to accommodate the stretcher, and continuous medical care.”

The Turkish military has established a communication link with Dickey, and a base camp has been set up approximately 700 meters (2,296 feet) from the cave entrance.

Dickey’s fiancée, Jessica Van Ord, was part of the expedition and remained with him during his illness. However, she began her ascent from the cave once his condition improved and is expected to resurface late on Thursday, according to Heitmeyer.

Mark Dickey, originally from New Jersey, boasts more than two decades of caving experience and serves as an instructor with the US National Cave Rescue Commission, where he teaches various cave rescue courses. His role as the organization’s International Exchange Program Coordinator is listed on its website.

He had been co-leading the expedition to Morca Cave in remote southern Turkey since the end of August, with assistance from the Hungarian Cave Rescue Service.

The cave’s depth is exceptionally daunting, requiring about eight hours for an experienced caver familiar with its intricacies to journey from the entrance to the base camp where Dickey is currently located. For those unacquainted with the cave, the journey can extend to 15 hours, with teams contending with wet conditions and temperatures as low as 4°C-6°C.

Rescues at depths exceeding 1,000 meters are infrequent. In 2014, a man was successfully evacuated from a depth of 1,148 meters (3,766 feet) in Germany’s Riesending cave, a complex operation that involved 728 individuals and spanned 11 days.

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours