Rescuers have said the operation was one of the most complex that has ever been undertaken, as ITV News’ Amelia Harper reports
An American researcher has said “it’s amazing to be above ground again” after he was pulled to safety out of a Turkish cave following a 10-day rescue mission.
Mark Dickey, 40, became seriously ill with stomach bleeding on September 2, while 1,000 metres below the entrance to the Morca cave, in southern Turkey’s Taurus Mountains.
The cause of his illness is still not known.
Rescuers from across Europe rushed to the cave for an operation to save him, including a Hungarian doctor, who managed to reach and treat Mr Dickey.
Mr Dickey was too frail to climb out himself and so was carried by rescuers with the help of a stretcher.
‘It’s been one hell of a crazy, crazy adventure’
Rescue teams made frequent stops at temporary medical bases along the way before reaching the cave’s surface on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters shortly afterwards, he described the ordeal as a “crazy, crazy adventure”.
Mr Dickey told how he thought would not survive after he started to throw up large quantities of blood.
“My consciousness started to get harder to hold on to, and I reached the point where I thought ‘I’m not going to live’,” he added.
Watch the moment rescuers bring Mark Dickey to the surface of the Morca cave
His parents, Debbie and Andy Dickey, said in a statement: “The fact that our son, Mark Dickey, has been moved out of Morca Cave in [a] stable condition is indescribably relieving and fills us with incredible joy.”
The rescue operation began on Saturday and Turkish authorities said 190 personnel from eight countries took part – 153 of them search and rescue experts.
Mr Dickey, who is from Croton-on-Hudson, New York, is a well-known cave researcher and a cave rescuer himself, who had participated in a number of international expeditions.
He and several others on the trip were mapping the Morca cave system for the Anatolian Speleology Group Association.