Rescuers saved an American climber who was trapped in a Turkish cave for over a week.
An international team of experts successfully rescued American researcher Mark Dickey, 40, who fell seriously ill during an expedition inside Morca cave located in the southern Taurus Mountains of Turkey.
Dickey experienced a stomach bleed on Sept. 2, while he was mapping the 4,186-foot cave system, which is the country’s third deepest.
It took an entire day for news of Dickey’s sickness to reach the surface, where a Hungarian doctor with the Anatolian Speleology Group Association was on standby.
The doctor spelunked down to treat the New Yorker the same day, but he was too ill to ascend to the surface.
A team of three explorers and the doctor took turns taking care of Dickey for the next eight days, while an international team of experts devised a way to get him out of the cave.
To make matters more difficult, the system is comprised of treacherously steep vertical sections horizontal segments filled with cold, muddy water.
190 cavers, doctors and paramedics from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Turkey, installed ropes and widened narrow passages to allow for a stretcher.
The rescue effort was so complex that it had to be divided into seven parts, with temporary camps set up along the way to rest at and treat Dickey with IV fluids and even a blood transfusion.
The operation began on Saturday and was finally completed 2:37 a.m. local time on Tuesday, according to the Speleological Federation of Turkey.
Dickey’s parents, Debbie and Andy, expressed their profound gratitude to the nearly 200 rescuers and the Turkish government for their instrumental roles in saving their son.
“The fact that our son … has been moved out of Morca Cave in stable condition is indescribably relieving and fills us with incredible joy,” the couple said in a statement.
“It is an event that all involved in the extensive rescue effort worked so significantly hard for,” they continued.
“Mark is strong and we believe in his strength but fully knew that he was in dire need of tremendous and immediate support.”
Dickey himself, who was first pictured on Tuesday waving from a stretcher, said that it was “amazing to be above ground again.”
“I was underground for far longer than ever expected with an unexpected medical issue,” he detailed.
Like his parents, Dickey lauded the international rescue team and the Turkish government for coming down to get him with “literally no questions asked.”