Hatayspor’s Christian Atsu missing after Turkey earthquake
Ghana international winger Christian Atsu is among those missing after the collapse of an apartment building following Monday’s devastating earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria.
The former Chelsea and Newcastle player scored a 97th minute winner for Turkish top-flight side Hatayspor on Sunday night as they beat Kasımpasa 1-0, but just hours later was reported missing following the 7.8 magnitude quake that brought down whole apartment blocks in several Turkish and Syrian cities.
Hatayspor spokesperson Mustafa Ozat told Turkish media that “Christian Atsu and [club sporting director] Taner Savut are still under the rubble.”
He added that at least two other Hatayspor players had been rescued and the club was working to help others. Atsu and Savut were the only two Hatayspor players or officials still unaccounted for, Ozat said.
The huge earthquake killed more than 2,700 people across a swathe of Turkey and northwest Syria on Monday, with freezing winter weather adding to the plight of the thousands left injured or homeless and hampering efforts to find survivors.
The area was initially rocked by an earthquake at 4:17 a.m. local time (1:17 a.m. GMT) before a second magnitude 7.7 quake in the early afternoon.
The epicentre of the earthquake was understood to be near the Turkish city of Gaziantep, 145 km (90 miles) from Antakya, where Atsu is based with Hatayspor.
Atsu, 31, played in the Premier League for Newcastle United and Everton, on loan from Chelsea, but joined Hatayspor in September.
Newcastle, who Atsu helped to promotion from the Championship in the 2016-17 campaign, tweeted they were “praying for some positive news.” Chelsea also tweeted their prayers.
Praying for some positive news, @ChristianAtsu20. 🙏🖤🤍 pic.twitter.com/HQT6yZOmRB
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) February 6, 2023
Atsu was last selected to play for Ghana in 2019, but has not officially retired from international football.
“We pray for Ghana International Christian Atsu and victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria,” the Ghana Football Association tweeted. “We remain hopeful for positive news.”
Ghana Football Association spokesman Henry Asante-Twum wrote in an email to The Associated Press that they had no news of Atsu and Ghana’s international relations department was seeking information from Turkish authorities.
Having made his Ghana debut in 2012, he represented the Black Stars at the 2014 World Cup and at four Africa Cup of Nations tournaments.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the survivors, and we pray that our fellow Ghanaian, Christian Atsu, is found safe and sound,” Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo tweeted.
Information from Reuters, The Associated Press and ESPN’s Ed Dove was included in this report.