Scientist Mark Dickey’s fiancée says he’s doing ‘great’ in hospital after being rescued from Turkish cave following twelve day ordeal and asks for donations to GoFundMe
- Dickey, 40, from New York, was rescued on Tuesday after a 12-day mission
- His relieved fiancée Jessica Van Ord said he’s doing ‘great’ in the hospital
- Around 200 rescuers were involved in lifting him out of the south Turkey cave
The relieved fiancée of American scientist Mark Dickey has said he’s doing ‘great’ in the hospital after emerging from a Turkish cave thanks to a mammoth rescue mission.
Jessica Van Ord had been anxiously awaiting the reunion with her partner after he became seriously ill while they were exploring 3,000 feet below the earth’s surface.
An experienced caver herself, Van Ord assisted rescuers from around the world who rushed to Morca cave in southern Turkey’s Taurus Mountains to aid Dickey, 40, after he was struck down with stomach bleeding.
Speaking outside the Turkish hospital where Dickey, from Westchester County, New York, is now being cared for following the 12-day rescue, his fiancée said he was recovering well from the ordeal.
‘Mark is doing great. We’re very happy to be here,’ Van Ord told Good Morning America. ‘He’s able to sit up, talk, he’s back to his usual self.’
‘The hospital is taking such good care of us and we’re so appreciative to the Turkish government and all of Turkey for being good to us right now,’ she added.
Jessica Van Ord (pictured) had been anxiously awaiting the reunion with her partner after he became seriously ill while they were exploring 3,000 feet below the earth’s surface
Mark Dickey, 40, from Westchester County New York, has been rescued from Turkey’s third deepest cave following a mammoth 12-day mission and is recovering well in hospital
Van Ord said that as a medical expert she recognized how serious her partner’s condition was straight away – and he previously told reporters he had been vomiting blood.
‘I’m a paramedic and I knew immediately that we were dealing with internal bleeding,’ she said.
‘Mark needed to get back to first get back to camp safely and unfortunately under his own power because we were just a small group at that time.’
Van Ord was forced to leave him behind to climb 1000 meters to get phone service and call for help.
The caver said she gave him ‘one last hug’ before making the journey.
‘During the wait there’s not much you can do, just knowing he’s bleeding the whole time is very, it’s a lot. You have to stay positive,’ she said.
She requested donations to a fundraiser launched to cover the logistical costs of aiding him out of the cave, which has so far gathered $64,804 of its $100,000 goal.
Van Ord has taken leading roles in previous cave rescues herself – including the case of an elderly cockapoo which she saved by managing to slip herself into an incredibly tight crevice to reach the pooch.
In a brief statement, American caver Mark Dickey, 40, said that he felt as though he was not going to make it out of the cave alive
Dickey’s ordeal began on September 2 when he found himself stuck in an area of the cave surrounded by steep shafts, narrow passages as well as pits.
The temperature in the cave was around 39 degrees and was described as damp and wet.
The call to help Dickey went out from the European Cave Rescue Association the same day, and it was answered by around 200 aid workers from the US, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Ukraine among others.
Dickey posted this photo from his hospital bed in the ICU just hours after his rescue
The biggest challenges for the rescuers were the steep vertical sections and navigating through mud and water at low temperatures in the horizontal sections.
In the end, a plan was concocted that involved the team being divided by nationality and separating at various depths in order to bring Dickey through a trail that was higher than the Empire State Building.
Each team carried the stricken caver around 590 feet.
The rescue began on Saturday after doctors, who administered IV fluids and blood, determined that Dickey could not make the arduous ascent alone, it was estimated to take around 57 hours.
Before the evacuation could begin, rescuers had to widen some of the cave’s narrow passages, set up a communication system, install ropes to pull him up vertical shafts on a stretcher and set up temporary camps along the way.
The rescue team included doctors, paramedics and experienced cavers. In addition to the physical toll, they were also faced with the psychological challenge of staying inside a dark, damp cave for extended periods of time.
Dickey pictured shortly after his rescue – he was rushed to a medical tent after he emerged from the cave
Dickey speaking with journalists shortly after his rescue, he described the feeling as ‘amazing’
Dickey, who lives in Croton-on-Hudson, Westchester County, New York, is a well-known figure in the international caving community.
He is described by the European Cave Rescue Association as ‘a highly-trained caver and a cave rescuer himself’.
‘He has participated in caving expeditions in many karst areas of the world for many years,’ the association said.
‘In addition to his activities as a speleologist, he is also the secretary of the ECRA medical committee and an instructor for cave rescue organizations in the USA.’
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