US caver rescued from one of Turkey’s deepest caves after nine-day operation

Mark Dickey (40) was trapped more than 1,000m underground after suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding

An American caver who had become trapped more than 1,000m (3,300ft) underground in southern Turkey after falling ill was rescued early on Tuesday after a days-long international rescue operation.

Mark Dickey (40) was on an international exploration mission in the Morca cave in Mersin province’s Taurus mountains, when he reportedly began suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding at a depth of 1,040m.

“Dickey was removed from the last exit of the cave,” Turkey’s TUMAF caving federation said wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Thus, the cave rescue part of the operation has ended successfully. We congratulate all those who have contributed!” it added.

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Italian rescuers said Mr Dickey was taken to the medical tent at the camp for checks.

More than 150 rescuers from Turkey, Croatia, Italy and other countries worked for nine days to rescue him from the country’s third-deepest cave.

Footage from previous phases of the operation showed Mr Dickey lying inside the cave and receiving treatment by a medical team. Footage also showed other teams moving down the caves with ropes and making their way through narrow passages.

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.

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

“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. – Agencies