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The Rescue of the Century

America’s International Mission to Save U.S. Scientist

Photo by Nejc Soklič on Unsplash

American speleologist Mark Dickey has been stuck in the Morca Cave in the Southern Turkey Taurus Mountains since Sept. 2. He began exploring the caves on Sept. 2 but contracted a stomach illness resulting in gastrointestinal bleeding, blood loss from any of the organs in the digestive system. Being in this state, he was unable to climb out of the cave by himself, so doctors from the United States, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Turkey had to come to his aid to rescue him.

Dickey is an experienced caving enthusiast and cave rescuer from New Jersey who went on an international trip to turkey to explore the 4,186-foot-deep cave. The cave is the third deepest in Turkey reaching 4,186 feet deep. After he fell ill, the Speleological Federation in Turkey sent doctors with blood and IVs to help him recover and safely exit the cave. He was treated for the first time by a Hungarian doctor on Sept. 3 and various other doctors since then.

It was expected to take ten days to retrieve him from the cave, which was verified when he was safely rescued around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 12. According to CNN, Dickey has been successfully rescued and doctors say he appears fine at first look.

Immediately after being pulled out of the cave, Dickey expressed how grateful he was for being alive and receiving all the help he was given.

“I don’t quite know what’s happened, but I do know that the quick response by the Turkish government to get the medical supplies that I needed in my opinion saved my life,” Dickey said. “I was very close to the edge.” 

Along with Dickey expressing his gratitude, his family did as well.

“It is an event that all involved in the extensive rescue effort worked so significantly hard for,” M. Dickey’s parents Debbie and Andy Dickey said. “Mark is strong, and we believe in his strength but fully knew that he was in dire need of tremendous and immediate support.”

When asked if he had heard about Dickey’s incident, the Director of Upper School Charles Beamer believed that it is important for everyone to be up to date on the news.

“One, it allows the individual to be an informed citizen. Secondly, what happens in our country and outside our country impacts us,” Beamer said. “Thirdly, in a world where countries, for reasons, tend to be isolationist, this story speaks to how impactful positive international relationships [like sharing resources and financial costs, and more] amongst countries benefit mankind.”

Sophomore class president Bryson Willis also agreed that it is important to know about the things going on within your country and outside of it.

“Having an idea of what's going on in the world is important of course, whether it affects you personally or not, it's still good to know,” Willis said. “There's so much stuff going on all the time to so many people. Having an idea of what their experiences are and perhaps what you can learn from it is very important.”


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