IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'I’m up, I’m alert': Trapped American shares video from inside Turkish cave

"The quick response of the Turkish government to get the medical supplies that I needed, in my opinion, saved my life,” Mark Dickey said in a video the Turkish government shared Thursday.
Get more newsLiveonNBC News Now

The American scientist who became stranded deep inside a massive cave in Turkey after he fell ill said in a video message he recorded in the cavern that he was "close to the edge" but is on the mend thanks to medical help.

It has been a race against time to rescue Mark Dickey, 40, an experienced caving enthusiast who suffered from gastrointestinal bleeding while he was exploring the sprawling Morca cave in southern Turkey.

He has been stuck in the cave, the third-deepest in the country, since Saturday, and it's too strenuous an endeavor for him to climb out in his current state.

Dickey was at a camp 1,040 meters down — or 3,412 feet — on Thursday, according to the Turkish Caving Federation, which is assisting in the effort.

“Mark’s condition continues to improve. The doctors will decide if it is possible for him to walk without a stretcher,” the caving federation said in a statement

In a video dated Wednesday, which the Turkish government shared Thursday with The Associated Press, Dickey is on his feet and smiling, reassuring viewers by saying, "I'm doing well."

“I was very close to the edge when Jessica got back to me,” he said, referring to his fiancée, who was caving with him. “So many thanks to the Turkish government and the Turkish cavers that are helping to support the international community here.”

He credited the swift Turkish medical aid response for saving his life.

“I want to thank everyone that’s down here and thank the response of the caving community. The caving world really is a tight-knit group, and it's amazing to see how many people have responded on the surface,” Dickey said.

“We’re still waiting for communications to actually reach down here, so right now it’s a day to two days’ worth of travel for information to get back and forth," he said. "So I don’t quite know what’s happened, but I do know that the quick response of the Turkish government to get the medical supplies that I needed, in my opinion, saved my life.”

Dickey reassured the public he's doing better since he was treated.

“I look forward to working with everyone to safely get myself out with their assistance,” he said. "As you can see, I’m up, I’m alert, I’m talking, but I’m not healed on the inside yet, so I’m going to need a lot of help to get out of here."

Toward the end of the video Dickey became emotional as he thanked the response effort and said, “It’s really special to be taken care of.”