US explorer rescued in Turkey nine days after surgery

US explorer rescued in Turkey nine days after surgery

An international team of rescuers on Tuesday pulled into safety a US explorer who spent 9 days trapped in the narrow tunnels of a Turkish cave with internal bleeding.

The 40-year-old explorer experienced stomach problems while exploring the depths of the Morca Cave, a remote complex of twisting underground passageways located in southern Turkey's Taurus Mountains.

The largest cave in Turkey, it reaches nearly 1.3 kilometres below ground, making it Turkey's third-deepest.

At a depth of 1,120 meters, Dickey fell ill, sparking what organisers said was one of the largest and most complicated underground rescue operations ever mounted.

An international team of 200 rescuers, fellow explorers and doctors, began to cautiously pull Dickey to safety after first giving him infusions of blood.

They first placed him on a stretcher, which sometimes required to be lifted vertically by rope through particularly narrow passageways.

The teams pulling the ropes would occasionally take breaks, climbing back up to the surface before returning underground.

Dickey's condition has been stable for a few days, officials said.

Cenk Yildiz, the head of Turkey's emergency response service, told reporters late on Sunday.

In a video recorded on Wednesday, Dickey thanked the Turkish government for its assistance.

Dickey, 74, said, "It's like saying, 'I don't need to do that.

Dickey, an experienced explorer with medical knowledge, was called up to the European Cave Rescue Association.

The New York native is a well-known figure in the international Speleological community, a highly trained caver, and a cave rescuer himself, the ECRA said.