“The global cooperation to get Mark out of this very deep cave is amazing,” the U.S. commission’s Gretchen Baker said in a news release. “We are so grateful to the Turkish government and all the rescue teams for helping to get our friend to the surface.”
Dickey had suffered gastrointestinal bleeding when he was 3,674 feet below the surface, exploring Turkey’s 4,200-foot-deep Morca cave as part of an expedition. The illness rendered Dickey unable to climb out on his own.
Dickey’s colleagues alerted local rescuers, who alerted the European Cave Rescue Association on Sept. 2. An international rescue effort sprung up with more than 160 people from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Turkey and the United States arriving at the cave, according to the U.S. cave rescue commission.
Dickey was temporarily stabilized at a camp about 3,400 feet underground, but he was still not well enough to make the ascent on his own. Doctors gave him blood transfusions before rescuers started what would be a 57-hour ascent Saturday afternoon.
“It takes about 15 hours for an uninjured, experienced caver to ascend from the [3,400-foot-deep] camp to the surface due to the tight passages, complex ropework, and extreme physicality required,” the commission said in the news release. “To get someone injured out, in a rescue litter, takes much longer,” it added.