(NewsNation) — Mark Dickey, the American explorer who spent 11 days trapped 3,000 feet down in a Turkish cave as he struggled with life-threatening internal bleeding, shared his incredible story of survival with NewsNation.
Teams from across Europe rushed to Morca cave in southern Turkey’s Taurus Mountains to aid Dickey, a 40-year-old experienced caver who became seriously ill on Sept. 2 with stomach bleeding.
He was on an expedition to map the cave, which is the country’s third deepest.
The mission was interrupted when Dickey had a “sudden and instantaneous” bout of symptoms including dizziness and nausea.
“It really felt like I clawed my way to Jessica (paramedic and fellow caver) and just started rattling off every single symptom I had,” Dickey said during an appearance on “Elizabeth Vargas Reports.”
After getting the go-ahead from doctors, rescuers put him on a stretcher and started to carry him to the surface. Small explosives were used to blast open up parts of the tunnel and temporary camps were set up along the way out so Dickey could rest.
Dickey was first treated inside the cave by a Hungarian doctor who went down the cave Sept. 3. Doctors and rescuers then took turns caring for him. The cause of Dickey’s illness was not clear.
Despite his illness, Dickey said he never doubted that he would make it out of the cave alive.
“That’s the caving community,” Dickey said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.