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Cave rescue mission to save ill researcher stuck 3,000ft underground could take 10 days | World News


Rescuing a caver who became ill 3,000ft underground more than a week ago could take another 10 days, a search leader says. 

Rescue teams in Turkey successfully carried American researcher Mark Dickey to the 2300ft (700m) mark on Sunday. He will rest there before they continue the journey to the surface.

The 40-year-old started vomiting on 2 September because of stomach bleeding while on an expedition in the Morca cave in southern Turkey.

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Mark Dickey is an experienced caver

The painstaking rescue involves teams pulling his stretcher through narrow passages and vertical shafts to the surface.

This could take up to 10 days, according to Recep Salci, head of the search and rescue department of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate, AFAD. If his condition improves, the mission could be faster.

Doctors, paramedics and experienced cavers rushed to Turkey to help with the mission. Turkish authorities said 190 people from eight countries are involved, 153 of them search and rescue experts.

Rescuers try to move a rock in Morca Cave, as they take part in a rescue operation to reach U.S. caver Mark Dickey who fell ill and became trapped some 1,000 meters (3,280 ft) underground, near Anamur in Mersin province, southern Turkey September 5, 2023. REUTERS/Agnes Berentes NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
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Rescuers try to move a rock as they clear as passage for the rescue mission

Rescuers descend to the entrance of Morca Cave as they take part in a rescue operation to reach U.S. caver Mark Dickey who fell ill and became trapped some 1,000 meters (3,280 ft) underground, near Anamur in Mersin province, southern Turkey September 8, 2023. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Rescuers descend to the entrance of Morca Cave

Rescuers have set up small medical base camps at various levels along the shaft, providing Mr Dickey an opportunity to rest during arduous extrication.

One of the most difficult tasks of cave rescue operations is widening the narrow cave passages to allow stretcher lines to pass through at low depths, Yusuf Ogrenecek, of the Speleological Federation of Turkey, said.

“Stretcher lines are labour intensive and require experienced cave rescuers working long hours,” he said.

Rescuers will also have to navigate through mud and water at low temperatures and deal with the psychological toll of staying inside a cave for long periods of time.

Read more:
Mark Dickey sends video message from cave
‘Challenging’ cave rescue effort under way in Turkey

A map showing the cave where American Mark Dickey is trapped
U.S. caver Mark Dickey is seen in Morca Cave, days before he fell ill and became trapped some 1,000 meters (3,280 ft) underground, near Anamur in Mersin province, southern Turkey August 28, 2023. REUTERS/Agnes Berentes NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
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Mark Dickey is seen in Morca Cave days before he fell ill and became trapped.

Teams including a doctor and three or four others take turns staying with Mr Dickey at all times.

On Saturday, Mersin governor Ali Hamza Pehlivan said Mr Dickey was in a stable condition.

“We have received information that his condition is getting better, thanks to medical intervention,” he said.

Mr Dickey is an instructor with the US National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC). He is highly regarded in the international speleological (the study of cave exploration) community and has previously taken part in rescue missions.

He was co-leading an expedition to find and map a new passage in the Turkish cave, the third deepest in the country, when he fell ill.



This story originally appeared on Skynews

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