(Istanbul) The American speleologist who fell ill on September 2 at the bottom of a chasm in southern Turkey was rescued Monday, announced the Turkish Speleology Federation.
“Mark Dickey has been released,” the federation said, adding that “the rescue operation was successfully completed.”
The 40-year-old caver suffered an abdominal hemorrhage while exploring the Morca cave system near Mersin with an international team.
The cave, the third deepest in Turkey, reaches almost 1.3 kilometers deep at its lowest point.
Mark Dickey fell ill at a depth of 1120 meters. His mishap triggered what emergency services called one of the largest and most complicated underground rescue operations ever organized.
An international team of 200 rescuers, explorers and doctors began carefully hoisting Dickey to the surface after administering blood transfusions.
They first strapped him to a stretcher, which sometimes had to be hoisted vertically using a rope through particularly narrow passages. The teams pulling the ropes sometimes took breaks, returning to the surface before returning underground.
“We congratulate everyone who made their contribution,” said the Turkish Caving Federation.
According to the authorities, Mr. Dickey’s state of health has steadily improved in recent days.
“He is generally in good health. He continues to be supplied with liquids,” Cenk Yildiz, head of the local branch of the Turkish emergency response service, told the press late Sunday.
“We solved his gastric bleeding problems with plasma and serum,” he explained.
In a video, Mr Dickey thanked the Turkish government for its help, saying its “quick response” had “saved his life”.
According to the European Cave Rescue Association (ECRA) Mark Dickey is an experienced caver who has medical training.
The New York State native is “a well-known figure in the international caving community, a highly skilled caver and a cave rescuer himself,” ECRA said.
“In addition to his activities as a caver, he is also secretary of the ECRA medical committee and an instructor for cave rescue organizations in the United States,” the organization said.