Cave rescue in the Morca cave system in Turkey

On Saturday, the 2nd of September ECRA got a call, that a member of an expedition, which is actually exploring the Morca cave system in Turkey fell ill in the cave. He had severe gastric pain and this happened at the camp at -1040 m in the cave.

The expedition members requested information what medication they could give to him, as their hope was, that the patient could exit on his own. Unfortunately at the next day it was reported, that help from outside is needed because of a rising destabilization of the circulation of the patient.

The leaders of the expedition asked for international help through Turkish federation of speleology and Turkish cave rescue, which are members of ECRA. Rescue missions from such deepness are very rare, extremely difficult and need many very experienced cave rescuers. A special challenge is the administrative process that has to be passed through with the authorities to start the operation on an international level.

Thanks to excellent cooperation between ECRA, the Turkish Speleologists Association and the Turkish Cave Rescue Service, the operation could be started quickly. The Turkish cave rescue community has made tremendous efforts to urge their government and AFAD (the Turkish Disaster and International Humanitarian Aid Agency) to allow and also legally secure support for international cave rescue teams.

Sunday, 3th September, a team from the Hungarian Cave Rescue Service with a doctor reached the Morca area with the help of a helicopter and started descending into the cave. The group reached the injured person and set up a tent providing intensive medical care.

Monday, 4th September, the second Hungarian team arrived at Morca. Four rescuers from the Bulgarian Cave Rescue also arrived at the Morca base camp, followed by 2 more groups of Bulgarian cave rescuers with a doctor and a paramedic – a total of 17 people.

Tuesday, 5th September – Hungarian and Bulgarian teams are already involved in the action, and of course the Turkish teams, which are doing also the communication work between the cave rescuers and the Turkish Government and are taking care to solve logistical problems.

Wednesday, 6th September – Italian, Croatian and polish teams are on their way to the Morca base camp.

More cave rescue international teams are on standby waiting to be called.

The most important thing is, that there are optimistic news from the cave: the patients circulation is stabilized!

More information will follow in the next few days.

Photos: Hungarian Cave Rescue Service, Cave Rescue – Bulgaria, Hrvatska Gorska Služba Spašavanja, GOPR – Górskie Ochotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe, Grupa Ratownictwa Jaskiniowego – Stowarzyszenie, Turkish Speleological Federation, Turkish Cave Rescue Team