Rescuers on 5th day trying to save US explorer who became ill 3,400 feet below Turkish cave (video)

Around 150 rescuers are working to save American scientist Mark Dickey, who became trapped around 3,400 feet underground in Turkey's deepest cave on Saturday after suddenly falling ill. (See video below, posted by Today.)

The 40-year-old researcher and highly experienced caver was co-leading a team that was mapping a passage in southern Turkey's Morca cave when he experienced gastrointestinal bleeding. Since then, rescuers from the Hungarian Cave Rescue Service, Bulgarian Cave Rescue, and from Italy, Croatia and Poland have worked together, sending doctors and six units of blood into the cave to help his condition, which has since improved, according to the Independent.

But he will most likely need a stretcher to exit the cave. "I was very close to the edge," he said in a video yesterday, according to AP.

From AP:

Dickey, who had been bleeding and losing fluid from his stomach, is doing better, has stopped vomiting and has eaten for the first time in days, according to a New Jersey-based cave rescue group he's affiliated with. It's unclear what caused his medical issue.

The New Jersey Initial Response Team said Dickey is "very sick" and is located about 1,000 meters below the surface. The rescue will require many teams and constant medical care, the group said.

Communication with Dickey takes about five to seven hours and is carried out by runners, who go from Dickey to the camp below the surface where wire communications to talk to the surface have been set up.

And from the Independent:

Rescuers began setting up rope lines on Wednesday as part of the effort, though it is unclear when they can begin the mission due to its extreme complexity.

The cave system is described as extremely narrow with many twists and turns, making it difficult to navigate. It typically takes a person in good health around 15 hours to exit.

Mark Dickey is a highly-trained caver, cave rescuer himself and well-known in the international speleological (cave expert) community, according to the European Cave Rescue Association (ECRA). …

Having participated in many cave explorations in karst areas around the world for many years, Mr Dickey is knowledgeable and skilled – the kind of person you'd want on complicated cave exploration like the Morca mission.