American caver Mark Dickey trapped 3,400 feet inside Turkish cave, massive rescue effort underway

A massive rescue effort is underway in Turkey as an American speleologist remains trapped more than 3,200 feet inside a cave.

Mark Dickey, 40, became sick and began suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding during an expedition in the Morca cave in southern Turkey’s Taurus Mountains, according to the European Cave Rescue Association. He was last known to be approximately 3,400 feet inside the cave.

He has been unable to leave the cave on his own since Saturday, the association said, and more than 150 Turkish and international cave rescue experts are leading the effort to save him. Rescue personnel include teams from Italy, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria and Poland.

Dickey, who is the secretary of the association’s medical committee, is described on its website as “a highly trained caver and a cave rescuer himself” who has participated in many international expeditions.


A speleologist is a scientist who studies caves or a person who goes into caves as a sport.

The cave, with a depth of 4,186 feet, is Turkey’s third deepest.


Turkish disaster relief agency AFAD and rescue team UMKE are working with Turkish and international cavers on a plan to hoist Dickey out of the cave system, the rescue association said.

Marton Kovacs of the Hungarian Cave Rescue Service said the plan includes having to widen the cave’s narrow passages to accommodate a stretcher that will be used to hoist him more than 3,280 feet to the surface. They have also discussed the potential danger of falling rocks.

The cave has been divided into several sections, with each country’s rescue team being responsible for one section.

A fundraiser which has raised over $40,000 toward his rescue.

Kovacs said lifting Dickey will likely take several days and that several bivouac points are being prepared along the way so the rescue personnel and Dickey can rest.

Dickey was initially found and treated by the volunteer Hungarian Cave Rescue Service, which provided emergency blood transfusions to stabilize his condition.

Dickey’s current condition is not immediately clear.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow us

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x