Rescue efforts are underway in Turkey to retrieve a U.S. researcher stranded 3,000 feet inside a massive cave.
Doctors gave the final go-ahead Saturday to begin rescue operations for researcher Mark Dickey, 40, who fell ill while exploring the Morca cave in southern Turkey’s Taurus Mountains.
“This afternoon, the operation to move him from his camp at 1040 meters to the camp at 700 meters began,” an official from the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate said to the press.
Dickey became sick and began suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding during his expedition, according to the European Cave Rescue Association.
The Morca cave is Turkey’s third deepest, and he was last known to be approximately 3,400 feet inside.
He has been unable to leave the cave on his own since Thursday, according to the New Jersey Initial Response Team, a local group of volunteers specializing in cave and mine rescue.
A Hungarian doctor managed to make his way to Dickey and the American has now been cared for by a rotating team of doctors making their way down to care for him.
More than 150 Turkish and international cave rescue experts are leading the effort to save him. Rescue personnel include teams from Italy, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria and Poland.
Marton Kovacs of the Hungarian Cave Rescue Service said the rescue plan includes needing to widen the cave’s narrow passages to accommodate a stretcher that could be used to hoist him to the surface.
The rescue operation could take up to ten days from beginning to end, officials say.