U.S. caver rescued in Turkey "blessed to be alive", but vows to keep caving

US caver rescued after days-long climb from 1,000 meters deep in Turkish cave

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - An American caver rescued after being trapped underground in southern Turkey for 11 days said on Thursday he was blessed to be alive after suffering a gastrointestinal bleed while 1,040 metres deep - but that he would go on exploring caves.

Mark Dickey, 40, was rescued early on Tuesday after being trapped in the Morca cave in Mersin province's Taurus Mountains. He was transferred to Mersin City Hospital, where he is receiving treatment.

"I really am blessed to be alive. It's been a tough time," Dickey said in a news conference at the hospital.

More than 150 cave rescuers from Turkey, Croatia, Italy and other countries worked to rescue Dickey from Turkey's third-deepest cave, and Dickey said he had never lost hope.

"I will definitely continue to explore caves. There is risk in all of life and, in this case, the medical emergency that occurred was completely unpredicted," Dickey said.

"Will I go back to Morca cave? I would love to."

(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Kevin Liffey)