The Ghanaian former Newcastle Utd winger, who plays for Turkish club Hatayspor, was found alive and taken to hospital with injuries.
Ghana winger Christian Atsu has been found alive after being buried under rubble in the earthquake that hit Turkey, the vice-president of his football club has told the media.
Atsu, who plays for Hatayspor, was reported missing in Turkey’s Hatay province after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks toppled thousands of buildings in several Turkish and Syrian cities on Monday, killing an estimated 5,000 people.
“Christian Atsu was pulled out injured. Our sports director, Taner Savut, is unfortunately still under the rubble,” club vice-president Mustafa Ozak told Radyo Gol on Tuesday.
Officials say as many as 1,500 buildings were destroyed in Hatay province.
Atsu (31) played in the English Premier League for Newcastle United and Everton, on loan from Chelsea, and joined Hatayspor in September. He was last selected to play for Ghana in 2019 but has not officially retired from international football.
Ozat told beIN Sports on Monday that several players and officials were rescued from the rubble.
“Positive news please,” Newcastle tweeted before Atsu was found.
Praying for positive news, @ChristianAtsu20. 🙏🖤🤍 pic.twitter.com/HQT6yZOmRB
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) February 6, 2023
So far, more than 7,800 people have been rescued in 10 Turkish provinces, Orhan Tatar, a Turkish disaster management official, said on Tuesday. Strained medical facilities quickly filled with injured people, rescuers said.
Governments and humanitarian agencies rushed to deploy rescuers to the affected areas. However, emergency teams on the ground are few and far between, and their efforts are hampered by freezing temperatures and nearly 200 aftershocks, making searching through unstable structures dangerous.
More severe weather is expected to hit the region, making rescue operations even more difficult. Collapsed buildings and destroyed roads have also made it difficult to find survivors and deliver vital aid to affected areas. Several airports were also closed after being damaged by the earthquakes.
Shocking reports are coming from isolated areas, including the Hatay region, where officials say many people have reported that their relatives are trapped under the rubble without help or rescue teams.