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Expert Caver Trapped At 3,200 Ft. Finds Freedom Thanks To Nearly 200 Volunteers.

A two-photo collage. The first shows Mark Dickey smiling as he sits in a stretcher. He is talking to the media after being rescued from Morca Cave. The second photo shows several people standing around the opening of Morca Cave as Mark Dickey is raised above the opening. He's being lifted out.

There’s always a risk of danger when going on certain adventures, like cave exploration — Mark Dickey understands this well. He’s one of the trainers at the National Cave Rescue Commission. According to their website, this volunteer-run group seeks to train and track rescue resources for cave explorers in the United States.

Hoping to map a new pathway, Mark, who is from America, made his way to Morca Cave in Turkey. At over 4,000 feet deep, there was much to explore in this dark enclosure. Before he began, however, he was checked over to ensure he was medically stable. Even though it seemed that he was, at around 3,200 feet, Mark became ill.

Someone descending inside of Morca Cave.

It started with gastric pain which turned into internal bleeding and vomiting blood. Soon enough, he struggled to retain consciousness. In that moment, he was certain he wouldn’t make it out alive.

Rescuers who were determined to save Mark felt differently. Among the nearly 200 volunteers and medics who worked tirelessly to rescue him were his fiancée, Jessica Van Ord, and various teams from Turkey and Europe.

Several tents set up outside of Morca Cave as part of Mark Dickey's rescue team. Several people stand around talking.

Teams were assigned to help at different stages along the 3,200-foot long trek — for some perspective, that’s taller than two Empire State buildings. Thanks to their efforts, after nine whole days of being trapped, Mark was finally back on the surface.

“It is amazing to be above ground again,” Mark said soon after being rescued. “This is overwhelming.”

Mark Dickey smiles as he lays inside a tent with three others as he receives medical care.

Since his rescue on Monday night, Mark has been receiving care at Mersin City Hospital. Since the last update, he’s been doing well.

“It has been a scary experience and the closest to death I’ve been yet,” he said. “I truly appreciate all the people involved in both saving my life and helping me escape from so deep inside a cave.”

With over 10 years of experience teaching others how to rescue folks from caves, Mark has cemented himself as an expert. Now, the very kind of training he’s provided to others is exactly what saved his life.

Several people stand around the opening of Morca Cave as Mark Dickey is raised above the opening. He's being lifted out.

“Mark is an elite caver,” Carl Heitmeyer, public information officer for the New Jersey Initial Response Team said — Mark is their team leader. “There’s only a couple thousand people of his caliber in the world.”

The rescue mission to save Mark has highlighted a beautiful thing about humans: Our desire to help one another. To further highlight this, the Turkish Caving Federation shared a quote from “The Martian” by Andy Weir. This story, fittingly, is about someone named Mark Watney.

Mark Dickey smiles as he sits in a stretcher. He is talking to the media after being rescued from Morca Cave.

“The cost of my survival must have been hundreds of millions of dollars,” the quote reads, as shared on social media. “All to save one dorky botanist. Why bother? … They did it because every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out.”

Watch footage of Mark’s rescue in the video below.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here!

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