Former Newcastle winger Christian Atsu ‘found alive and is recovering in hospital’ after being pulled from rubble following earthquake in Turkey and Syria that has left 4000 dead and thousands more missing.
Christian Atsu has been found alive and is recovering in hospital after being pulled from the rubble following two devastating earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria, according to reports in Portugal.
More than 3,800 people have been killed and thousands more injured after the catastrophic earthquake that hit the two countries overnight, flattening neighbourhoods while families were asleep.
A search and rescue operation was launched for the former Chelsea and Newcastle man, and it has been reported extensively that it was successful
Portuguese outlet A Bola were first to report that Atsu was found, adding that he has transported to hospital after suffering injuries to his right foot and suffering breathing difficulties.
Journalist Saddick Adams then claimed he had been in contact with Atsu’s management team and that they had confirmed the winger was safe. Two of his Hatayspor team-mates as well as members of the technical staff were said to have been pulled out of the rubble earlier in the day.
The death toll in southern Turkey and northern Syria continues to rise following the two earthquakes which have wrecked towns and cities across a large region.
The initial earthquake struck overnight, with a Richter scale magnitude of 7.8. A second earthquake followed at around 13:30 local time on Monday afternoon. Officials said this was not an aftershock.
The 31-year-old joined Chelsea in 2013 but never played a competitive minute for the club as he was sent out on loan for a number of seasons including to Everton and Newcastle.
Though he made just five appearances at Everton, he impressed enough on loan at Newcastle to make a permanent move to the Magpies.
In total he made 107 appearances for the club, scoring eight goals, before joining Saudi side Al-Raed in 2021.
Newcastle have posted on social media with a photo of Atsu when he was at the club, saying they were ‘praying for some good news’.
Atsu was in action on Sunday for Hatayspor, scoring a goal in the seventh minute of stoppage time in a 1-0 victory over Kasimpasa.
In a message after the game, he wrote: ‘Important win for the team. Happy to be on the scoresheet.’Hatayspor player Onur Ergun posted an Instagram story in response to earlier reports that he is missing to say they were incorrect.
‘Thank you very much to everyone who called and asked,’ the midfielder said. ‘The news is not true. I’m fine.
‘I can’t answer the phone because there is a network problem. Get well soon to all of us.’
Turkish keeper Ahmed Turkaslan of Yeni Malatyaspor is also said to be missing.
The clubs assistant coach İlhan Var said: ‘We have not found our goalkeeper Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan yet. There are no signs right now. His wife came out and described where he could be.’
The wife of Hatayspor manager Volkan Demirel shared a tearful message after a massive aftershock with a magnitude of 7.5 hit Turkey’s south hours after the original quake.
‘Hatay is in a very bad way,’ Zeynep Sever Demirel said in a video shared on social media. A number of her friends were believed to still be trapped under rubble, with fears that more footballers could also be affected by the disaster.
According to Haber Global, footballers from the Marasspor team may have been staying in a hotel destroyed by the quake.
Among the other Turkish athletes believed to be missing are 14 volleyball players from the Hatay team, handball international Cemal Kutahya and Hatayspor coach Savas Yukse.
Olympic gold medallist Taha Akgul said around 30 and 40 wrestlers from a team based in Kahramanmaras were also trapped under the rubble.