A multi-day rescue mission is now underway to explore a deep cave in Turkey to save the sick American

Mark Dickey, a 40-year-old veteran American caver and explorer who fell ill nearly 1,000 meters (more than 3,000 feet) below a cave entrance in Turkey, has recovered enough to be extracted in a surgery that will last three or so days. Four days, Turkish officials confirmed Friday.

Rescuers from all over Europe rushed to the cave to save Tiki, who suddenly suffered stomach bleeding during a group trip to Morga Cave in the Taurus Mountains of southern Turkey.

“The doctors we sent were very successful in treating him,” Cenk Yildis, regional officer of Turkey’s Disaster Relief Agency, told the IHA news agency. “We’re now in a position to get him out.”

“It’s a difficult operation. It takes 16 hours for a (healthy) person to come out. The operation lasts at least three or four days,” Yildis continued. “Our priority is health. Our aim is to complete this operation without harming anyone.”

Local officials confirmed to ABC News that a local rescue team is carrying out the operation and will hold a press conference on Monday.

The New Jersey-based Cave Rescue Group, which is affiliated with Dickey, said he was bleeding and losing fluid from his stomach, but he has now stopped vomiting and is eating for the first time in days. It is unclear what caused the medical problem.

Doctors were expected to decide whether he should leave the cave on a stretcher or be able to leave under his own power. The New Jersey Initial Response Team said the rescue would require multiple crews and constant medical attention inside the cave, which is extremely cold.

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According to the Hungarian Cave Rescue Service and other authorities, the cave is being prepared for Tiki’s safe extraction.

More than 170 people including doctors, medical staff and experienced cavers are involved in the rescue work.

Mark Dickey, 40, became ill while exploring Morga Cave in the Taurus Mountains on Aug. 31 and was unable to return to the surface afterward, according to the New Jersey First Response Team, a volunteer group. Dickey is a team leader specializing in cave and mine rescue and an instructor for the National Cave Rescue Commission.

The expert caver was helping lead an international caving expedition when he began suffering intestinal problems, “which quickly progressed into life-threatening bleeding and vomiting,” according to the New Jersey First Response Team. Report.

Members of Italy’s Alpine Rescue Team joined more than 150 rescuers on Thursday to reach an ailing American trapped about 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) underground in a cave they were exploring in southern Turkey.

Video footage shows the first six-member Italian team, including a doctor and a nurse, preparing to enter the cave where Tiki was trapped.

In a video statement recorded underground by the Associated Press, Dickey thanked the cave community. He said he was very close to death and the medical supplies saved his life, and although he still had internal injuries and pain, it was difficult to get out.

“As you can see, I’m awake, I’m awake, I’m talking. But I’m still not healed inside, so I’m going to need a lot of help to get out of here,” he said. said.

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Several international rescue teams, including Croatian, Italian, Polish, Slovenian and American cave rescue teams, are “waiting for an official call from the authorities,” the European Speleological Federation said in a statement. Report On Tuesday.

According to the New Jersey Initial Response Team, the Turkish military is also assisting in the remote rescue operation.

Dickey said caving shows how well the international community can work together.

“We take care of our own. And taking care is very special,” he said.

Dickey spoke in eerily prescient comments in Rob Spangler’s recent unreleased documentary about how challenging it is to rescue an injured caveman in these kinds of remote, deep caves.

“The number of rescue teams involved in cave rescues is astounding, the amount of challenges you have to overcome to get out of a cave if someone is injured,” Dickey said in footage filmed in November 2022. Cueva Gavilan Cave in Oaxaca, Mexico. “You don’t realize how hard it is until you’re actually involved.”

Morga is one of the deepest caves in Turkey. Dickey was part of an expedition team to collect and map samples from a cave 3,400 feet down, according to the team. Website.

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In 2014, more than 700 experts rescued German spelunker Johann Westhauser, who was trapped for 12 days in one of Europe’s deepest cave systems.

ABC News’ Helena Skinner and Kerem Inal contributed to this report.

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