After nine days, an American cave explorer who was seriously ill on an expedition in Turkey was rescued from a depth of more than 1,000 meters. Mark Dickey was taken out of the cave shortly after midnight on Tuesday (local time) and taken to a tent for medical assistance, the Turkish Association of Cavers tweeted. “This means that the cave rescue part of the operation has been successfully completed. We congratulate everyone who contributed!” According to media reports, Dickey is doing well under the circumstances.

The American was part of an international research team that explored the Morca Cave in the south of the country. On September 2nd, the 40-year-old suffered a stomach bleed at a depth of 1,250 meters. His colleagues managed to get him to a camp at a depth of 1,000 meters. The cave is the third deepest in Türkiye.

Doctors had already penetrated the cold, damp and dark cave to see the American last week and, among other things, gave him blood transfusions. The rescue was highly complex: Among other things, narrow cave passages had to be blown open because Dickey had to be brought out using a special device that did not fit through the narrow cave passages. More than 150 international helpers, including from Hungary and Italy, were involved in the rescue operation. Photos show how medics treated Dickey. The association initially expected that the rescue could take around two weeks.

The helpers had to take breaks again and again

According to the association, the helpers brought the man bit by bit towards the cave entrance on a stretcher with a safety belt system. They repeatedly had to take breaks in makeshift camps so that Dickey could rest. The helpers worked intensively to get Dickey out of the cave as quickly as possible: on Monday afternoon Dickey was 180 meters from the entrance, four hours later 100 meters from the entrance. The association tweeted: “Crews continue to work to get him out this evening.”

In Germany in 2014, a rescue operation in the Riesending Shaft Cave, the longest and deepest cave in Germany, caused a stir. At that time, a cave explorer was hit in the head by a rockfall and was brought back to light from a depth of 1,000 meters in a rescue operation that lasted eleven days.