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American researcher Mark Dickey, center, talks to journalists after being pulled out of Morca cave near Anamur, south Turkey, on early Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023, more than a week after he became seriously ill 1,000 meters (more than 3,000 feet) below its entrance. Teams from across Europe had rushed to Morca cave in southern Turkey’s Taurus Mountains to aid Dickey, a 40-year-old experienced caver who became seriously ill on Sept. 2 with stomach bleeding. (Suleyman Cenk Idaye/IHA via AP)

OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
12:15 PM – Tuesday, September 12, 2023

On Monday, American researcher Mark Dickey was rescued out of a cave in Turkey after a whole week of being trapped. Officials say that he had become very ill and was too frail to make his own way out.


The 40-year-old researcher had embarked on an exploration mission with a group of other researchers in the Turkish Morca Cave. During his journey, he had reportedly become seriously ill with stomach bleeding when he was more than 3,000 feet below the cave’s entrance.

The European Cave Rescue Association (ECRA) announced that it first received a call on September 2nd, notifying them about Dickey’s unfortunate circumstances. An international rescue operation led by approximately 200 aid workers had rushed to treat him after the call was made. 

The rescue crew came from countries such as the United States, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine, along with doctors and paramedics from other countries across the globe.

According to reports, Dickey’s gastrointestinal conditions were so drastic that medics and rescuers had to give him an immediate blood transfusion down in the depths of the cave. He was physically unable to leave the cave himself, so the rescue personnel carried him out on a stretcher.

The Turkish cave reaches depths of up to 4,186 feet and the temperatures deep below are known to be extremely wet and cold, estimated to reach 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

Challenges for rescuers began during their pull out due to the cave’s steep vertical openings and their navigation through mud and water at severe temperatures. 

Although Dickey became ill on September 2nd, it took until the next day to notify rescuers above ground.

On Tuesday, the Turkish Caving Federation affirmed that the researcher had been successfully removed from the cave at approximately 12:37 a.m. local time. An experienced medic was alongside him and the rescue teams obtained instant updates through a special communications line.

Images photographed at the scene showed that he was lying back while being pulled by harnesses by rescue workers.

As he lay on the stretcher, Dickey told reporters that the incident was a “crazy, crazy adventure.”

“It is amazing to be above ground again,” he remarked, praising the authorities for saving him. He also expressed gratitude to the Hungarian Cave Rescue, Turkish cavers, and the global cave community.

Dickey, who is from Croton-on-Hudson, New York, is an experienced cave researcher and climber who had previously taken part in many international expeditions. He and many others on the mission were mapping the deep Morca cave for the Anatolian Speleology Group Association.

Dickey, who began caving in the 1990s, had explored caves across 20 different U.S. states and in 10 countries, according to his non-profit association for cavers called the Caving Academy.

His parents, Debbie and Andy Dickey, expressed gratitude to the Turkish government, the international caving community, and medical professionals and rescuers for helping to save their son. They released a statement in which they expressed immense relief and excitement for his stable condition.

After the American researcher’s rescue, the ECRA proclaimed that Dickey would be transferred to a hospital after a medical examination.

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