After Trickiest of Rescues, US Caver Is Safe

Mark Dickey is back above ground after getting sick in Turkey cave
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2023 1:22 AM CDT

After what organizers say was one of the biggest and most complicated underground rescues of all time, US cave explorer Mark Dickey was brought back to the surface safely early Tuesday local time. Dickey, 40, fell ill while mapping unknown pathways in a cavern in Turkey more than a week ago; he was 3,675 feet underground at the time. After his rescue he said, per the BBC, that there were times he thought he'd die down there. He developed severe gastrointestinal problems (which he speculated might have been related to a bacterial infection), was vomiting significant amounts of blood, and started going in and out of consciousness, he recalled. "I reached a point where I said, 'I'm not going to live,'" he said.

Nearly 200 rescuers from Turkey plus seven European countries joined the effort to get Dickey out, CBS News reports. The zig-zag path they took amounted to transporting the caver, who received a blood transfusion while underground, "higher than New York's Empire State Building," the news outlet says, and explosives had to be used to get through some particularly tight spots. Dickey came out smiling, and an official said he "seems fine at first look," per CNN. After such an unexpectedly long time in one of Turkey's deepest caves, he said it was "amazing to be above ground again." He also called the ordeal a "crazy, crazy adventure," per the Independent. (More Turkey stories.)

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