Massive International Rescue Operation Launched to Save American Caver Mark Dickey Trapped Deep Inside Turkish Cave


In a dramatic rescue operation unfolding in Turkey’s Taurus Mountains, a dedicated team of cave experts from around the world is working tirelessly to save American speleologist Mark Dickey, who finds himself trapped deep inside the Morca cave system. Dickey, aged 40, was part of an expedition organized by the Anatolian Speleology Group Association (ASPEG) to map the intricate cave system. However, his mission took a perilous turn when he fell ill, experiencing gastrointestinal bleeding while exploring the cave.

Dickey’s situation became dire, and he was unable to make his way out of the cave on his own. His location was approximately 3,400 feet deep inside the cave, a labyrinthine subterranean world that is considered Turkey’s third deepest cave. The treacherous conditions within Morca cave include cold and wet environments, narrow passages, and challenging terrain. Experienced cavers take around eight hours to reach the area where Dickey is stranded.

The rescue effort is a collaboration involving more than 150 cave rescue experts from Turkey and various international teams, including Italy, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Poland. The mission is particularly complicated due to the cave’s geography, which necessitates the widening of narrow passages to accommodate a stretcher for Dickey’s extraction.

Dickey, a highly trained caver and cave rescuer, serves as the secretary of the European Cave Rescue Association’s medical committee. He is also an instructor at the National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC). His expertise and experience make him an invaluable member of the caving community, and his condition has generated an outpouring of support from fellow enthusiasts.

Despite the challenges, there has been some progress in Dickey’s condition. Doctors were able to reach him with fresh blood and fluids, resulting in a slight improvement in his health. Nevertheless, he remains unable to move independently.

To facilitate the rescue operation, a temporary camp is being prepared at the 700-meter level, which will serve as a base for moving Dickey from his current location at 1,040 meters. Demolition teams are working to enlarge narrow passages to accommodate a rescue litter.

The rescue operation is expected to take several days, with multiple bivouac points set up along the way to ensure both Dickey and the rescue personnel can rest. Additionally, there is a concern about the potential danger of falling rocks during the operation.

The international community has rallied behind Dickey’s rescue effort, with a fundraiser raising over $40,000 towards the mission. Turkish disaster relief agency AFAD and the UMKE rescue team are coordinating efforts with Turkish and international cavers to hoist Dickey to the surface safely.

As time ticks away, Dickey’s plight serves as a testament to the dedication and courage of cave rescue teams from around the world. The challenge of extracting him from the depths of the Morca cave underscores the risks that speleologists and cave enthusiasts face in their quest to explore and understand the hidden wonders of the Earth’s subterranean realm.