Christian Atsu pulled from rubble alive after earthquake in Turkey, official says

Hatayspor sporting director Taner Savut is still under the rubble: club official

Former Newcastle United midfielder Christian Atsu has been pulled alive from the rubble of a collapsed building in Turkey and transferred to hospital following an earthquake that devastated the country and parts of Syria over the weekend. PA
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Former Chelsea and Newcastle United star Christian Atsu has been found alive and transferred to hospital after being pulled from the rubble of a building that collapsed following this weekend's earthquake that has devastated parts of Turkey and Syria.

"Christian Atsu was removed from the wreckage with injuries. Unfortunately, our sporting director Taner Savut is still under the rubble," Hatayspor vice-president Mustafa Ozat told Radyo Gol.

Ghana's ambassador to Turkey has also confirmed Atsu's rescue.

Atsu, a 31-year-old former Ghana international, was caught up in the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which occurred on Monday killing thousands.

Hatayspor, Atsu's current club, is located in the Turkish city of the Hatay, which is believed to be one of the areas worst affected by the earthquake.

Hundreds of buildings have been destroyed, with many people feared trapped under the rubble.

The quake and scores of aftershocks, one of which was almost as big as the original earthquake, was felt across the region in Lebanon, Cyprus and Iraq, and as far away as Greenland.

The initial quake had a 7.8 magnitude. The death toll is expected to rise sharply.

Atsu was part of the Newcastle team which won promotion back to the Premier League in 2017 after joining on loan for the season from Chelsea, and later completed a permanent move.

"Praying for some positive news, @ChristianAtsu20," read a post on the official Newcastle United Twitter account.

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, moving them up to 14th place in the 19-team Turkish Super Lig and two points above the relegation zone.

Atsu represented Ghana between 2012 to 2019, winning 65 caps and scoring nine goals. He represented the Black Stars at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

He began his career at Portuguese club Porto in 2011 before transferring to Chelsea in 2013. Following a succession of loan moves, he moved to Newcastle permanently in 2017 and remained at St James' Park for four years, playing 75 Premier League matches and scoring three goals.

Atsu transferred to Saudi Arabia's Al Raed in 2021 before moving to Hatayspor last August.

Meanwhile, Turkish second division side Yeni Matalyaspor have confirmed that their 28-year-old goalkeeper Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan is also missing.

The second-tier outfit released a statement on Instagram, in which they said: “Our goalkeeper, Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan, is in the building that was damaged and destroyed in the earthquake.

“Search and rescue efforts continue. As of now, there has been no news from him yet.”

Earthquake strikes Turkey and Syria

Updated: February 07, 2023, 12:38 PM