This Guy Was Trapped In A Cave More Than Two Empire State Buildings Deep!

This Guy Was Trapped In A Cave More Than Two Empire State Buildings Deep!

Mark Dickey, a 40-year-old experienced caver and researcher, is well-known within the international cave exploration community. His most recent adventure in September 2023, shocked the world when he found himself trapped in Turkey’s Morca Cave. The cave plunges 1,276 meters deep into the Taurus Mountains—equivalent to the height of two Empire State Buildings on top of each other! 

Mark had severe gastrointestinal bleeding and vomiting while he was trapped in the cave. Over 150 rescuers teamed up on the mission of taking him out. Fortunately, he was rescued after a 9-day rescue operation. This is his story of survival against the odds.

The Onset of the Crisis

Mark was not new to cave exploration. He had over 20 years of experience in exploring over 1000-meter-deep caves. Not only that, he was even an expert in cave rescuing. However, during a research expedition that started on August 29, 2023, things took a bad turn. By the fourth day of his journey, Mark started exhibiting alarming symptoms. He had sudden bouts of vomiting and severe gastrointestinal bleeding. 

“I got really, really tired…It suddenly got harder to think. My consciousness actually felt like it was diminished like it suddenly got harder to think. I needed to vomit, needed to go to the bathroom. And I had hot and cold flushes rapidly and broke out into a sweat. If elt like I was going to pass out..” 

Describing Mark’s horror, he shared with The Telegraph.

After 24 hours, Dickey thought he wouldn’t make it. His pulse became very weak and difficult to feel. It gradually got to the point where it was impossible to count.

His fiancée, Jessica Van Ord, alongside the expedition team, quickly intervened. She gave first aid and made crucial decisions to handle the emergency by giving him IV fluid and blood.

Guy Trapped In A Cave More Than Two Empire State Buildings Deep
Image source: AL Jazeera / NBC News
Image source: Global News / Dylan Page (Depicts the depth of the Morca Cave and the path cave explorers take)

The Rescue Operation: An International Effort

His fiancée, Jessica eventually climbed out to get help. The rescue operation that followed was monumental and involved over 150 aid workers from various countries. They were from the US, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine. 

The cave’s challenging landscape with steep cliffs, and narrow passages made things worse. They even had to demolish parts of the cave to safely move Mark on a stretcher. 

Medical base camps were set up at various depths inside the cave to stabilize and treat him until he could be safely extracted. Mark was then taken to a hospital in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

“amazing to be above ground again.”

Mark Dickey (Upon his arrival)

The Medical Mystery and Challenges

The cause of Mark’s sudden illness was a mystery. Doctors diagnosed him with gastrointestinal bleeding due to a lesion in his intestine, but the exact cause remains unknown. 

During the rescue, he required blood transfusions and IV fluids, a challenging feat given the cave’s remote and inaccessible environment. This incident highlights the extreme risks and medical challenges associated with deep cave explorations.

Despite how he almost survived a near-death experience, Dickey was keen to go caving as soon as next month.

“Caving is one of the final frontiers of exploration. We are pushing the exploration of the world in one of the few places where humans have never been.”

Mark Dickey
Image source: Marlow ropes (Morca cave)
Image source: Fox News

Human Spirit and Teamwork

This operation wasn’t just a demonstration of skill but also of teamwork. Jessica, a fellow caver and Mark’s fiancée played a crucial role by his side. The collective efforts of the rescuers and medical team were pivotal. Reflecting on his experience, Mark expressed profound gratitude: “It is amazing to be above ground again,” acknowledging the swift actions of the Turkish government and the international team that undoubtedly saved his life.

Image source: Al Jazeera


Despite the harrowing experience, Mark is returned to caving. This incident serves as a crucial lesson in preparedness, the importance of medical knowledge, and the need for comprehensive safety measures in extreme conditions. As Mark plans his next adventure, the caving community and enthusiasts alike reflect on the delicate balance between pursuing the unknown and preserving safety.

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