Ghanaian footballer Christian Atsu found alive in Turkey earthquake rubble

By Darren Lewis, Nimi Princewill and Chris Liakos, CNN

Updated 10:17 AM EST, Tue February 7, 2023

Ghanaian footballer Christian Atsu pictured during his time at English club Newcastle United on January 28, 2021.

International football player Christian Atsu has been found alive and is in “stable condition” at a local hospital following Monday’s earthquake in southern Turkey, the Ghana Football Association and Atsu’s agent said on Tuesday.

“We’ve received some positive news that Christian Atsu has been successfully rescued from the rubble of the collapsed building and is receiving treatment. Let’s continue to pray for Christian,” the Ghanaian FA posted on Twitter.

Atsu’s agent, Nana Sechere, told CNN on Tuesday that his client was in a “stable” condition at a local hospital after being successfully rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building. Atsu was not immediately accounted for in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Atsu, who plays for Hatayspor in Turkey, had been celebrating on Sunday night after he scored a last minute winner in his club’s 1-0 home league game against Kasimpasa, his agent said.

“There were lots of reports out of England and Ghana that Christian was safe, but the first official confirmation I had was on Tuesday morning,” Sechere said.

“I was told by the club that he was in hospital and that he is stable. He doesn’t have his phone and, like all of us, he can’t remember his numbers by heart so I have to continue to wait to speak to him,” he said.

Sechere said that Atsu had been playing poker until 3:30 a.m. local time with friends on Monday and got home around four in the morning.

The agent said he received a call from Hatayspor club officials at 5 a.m. saying the building Atsu was in had been completely destroyed and that they couldn’t get hold of him.

“The last I’d heard from Christian was midnight. I was hoping he was awake and that the earthquake hadn’t happened while he was sleeping,” Sechere said.

“His building was an 11-story building and he was on the ninth floor. The club officials were trying to help me find him, but it was so hard because, understandably, they were trying to find their own friends and families as well,” he added.

“But I even remember when he signed for Hatayspor and we went to the hospital for a medical. Even then it was busy with people queuing and people on the floor. So I can only imagine what it is like with this situation,” Sechere said.

Atsu’s former club Everton said on its official Facebook page: “We are relieved to hear Christian Atsu has been successfully rescued and is recovering in hospital. Our thoughts continue to be with everyone affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.”

More than 5,000 deaths have been confirmed in Turkey and Syria with over 21,000 people injured following earthquakes that rocked the region on Monday.

In Turkey, casualties were reported in 10 provinces, including Hatay, which is home to Atsu’s football team Hatayspor.

He had previously represented top English clubs such as Chelsea, Everton, Bournemouth and Newcastle.

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