Alabama professor shares update on colleague rescued from cave in Turkey

A University of Alabama professor and professional caver said she’s elated after a former colleague and fellow researcher who suffered a sudden medical emergency was pulled out of a cave in Turkey alive.

American researcher Mark Dickey became seriously ill nearly 3,000 feet below the cave’s entrance during an expedition with several other researchers earlier this month. A team of rescuers went down after him and, more than a week after his illness began, got him out.

UA Loper Endowed Professor of Geological Sciences Hazel Barton worked with Dickey in 2020, and said the caving research community is a close-knit group that often visits remote and potentially dangerous sites around the world.

Dickey’s rescue captured worldwide attention and his rescue is a major cause for celebration, as many rescue attempts are not successful. But he’s recovering well, Barton said.

“Mark is in the intensive care unit,” she said. “He texted out (Tuesday) morning to everybody that he was feeling much better and had a lot of gratitude to everybody who was able to help.” 

Barton said research like this is imperative for gathering data on environmental changes, minerals that could be used for technological advances and and even medical applications like fighting antibiotic resistance.

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