The American caver rescued from a Turkish cave on Monday is “doing well,” according to officials.
Mark Dickey, 40, was on a research mission in the Morca Cave when he began suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding more than a week ago.
“And then my consciousness started to, like, get harder to hold on to,” he said. “And I reached the point that I was like, I’m not going to live.”
Dickey had been trapped underground since Aug. 31.
While in the depths of the cave, he received a live-saving blood transfusion, but he was unable to ascend on his own – not to mention he happened to be 3,000 feet down.
The extraction effort involved some 200 rescue workers.
Freezing temperatures, narrow passes, steep verticals and flooding made it a challenging rescue for workers.
“It is amazing to be above ground again,” he said. “I was underground for far longer than ever expected, with an unexpected medical issue.”
Dickey was transported to a Turkish hospital, where he is now being cared for, with his fiancée by his side.
“Mark is doing well,” said Dickey’s fiancée, Jessica Von Ord.
At home, Dickey heads up New Jersey’s Initial Response Team. Today, he’s grateful for the response of other rescuers.
“It’s been one hell of a crazy, crazy adventure but I’m on the surface safely,” he said. Organizations made all the difference.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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