Turkish rescuers raced Thursday to save an American who developed internal bleeding while exploring a cave more than 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) below ground level, Agence France-Presse reported.
Turkey’s Caving Federation said 150 rescuers were trying to reach Mark Dickey, 40, who developed gastrointestinal bleeding while deep inside the Morca Cave, near Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
“The operation is logistically and technically one of the largest cave rescues in the world,” the federation said in a statement.
Dickey fell ill at a depth of 1,120 meters while accompanied by an international team of explorers.
He was placed under observation at a base camp located 1,040 meters underground, where he was given an infusion of blood delivered by rescuers and medics, the federation said.
The federation launched a rescue operation with the help of Turkey’s emergency response service on Tuesday.
The DHA news agency said Dickey first fell ill on Sunday.
“Mark’s condition is becoming stable,” the caving federation said. “His bleeding has stopped and he can walk with help, but it is not possible for him to get out without a stretcher.”
The Morca Cave is Turkey’s third-deepest, according to the federation, running to a maxim depth of 1,276 meters.
Rescuers said it could take several days to safely bring Dickey out.