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US explorer freed from one of Turkey's deepest caves

Sep 12, 2023

Washington [US], September 12: A US citizen trapped in Turkey's third deepest cave for more than a week has been pulled to safety, rescuers say.
More than 150 people were involved in efforts to save caver Mark Dickey after he developed stomach problems in the Morca Cave on 2 September.
Organisers say it was one of the largest and most complicated underground rescues ever mounted.
The lowest point of the Morca Cave, in a remote part of the south, reaches nearly 1.3km (0.8 miles) below ground.
Mr Dickey was brought out of the cave at 00:37 local time (21:37 GMT), the Turkish Caving Federation announced on social media.
Carl Heitmeyer of the New Jersey Initial Response Team, a group Mr Dickey leads, confirmed for BBC News that the caver had been rescued and he expressed his thanks to all those involved in the operation.
Mr Dickey's parents Debbie and Andy Dickey said the "international caving community" had "made it possible for Mark to leave Morca cave and receive further medical treatment at a hospital facility".
They said their son's rescue was "indescribably relieving" and filled them with "incredible joy".
"Mark is strong and we believe in his strength, but fully knew that he was in dire need of tremendous and immediate support," they said.
"Our prayers have been, and are, being answered and it is hard to express the magnitude of thanks we have for the international caving community."
Mr Dickey had been co-leading a team to map a new passage in the cave when he began to suffer from gastrointestinal bleeding.
His condition improved after he was given a blood transfusion. He was then strapped to a stretcher and was slowly carried out.
This involved navigating through tight rock tunnels and explosives had to be used at the narrowest points, according to CBS, the BBC's US partner.
A number of rescue workers from several other countries, including Croatia and Hungary, flew to Turkey to assist in the rescue.
Mr Dickey's fiancee, Jessica Van Ord, also helped. She had remained in the cave with him while he was unwell but later climbed out.
On Thursday evening, in a video message from inside the cave, Mr Dickey thanked the people attempting to rescue him.
Source: Fijian Broadcasting Cooperation