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Christian Atsu: Ghanaian Footballer Still Missing Despite Claims He Was Rescued from Turkey Quake Rubble  

Atsu plunged from the ninth floor of his apartment building when the devastating earthquake hit.

Christian Atsu’s agent says the footballer’s whereabouts are unknown, a day after it was reported he was pulled from the rubble of a building “with injuries” after the Turkey earthquakes.

More than 11,000 people in southern Turkey and northern Syria are now known to have been killed.

Ghana forward Atsu plays for Hatayspor and the club’s vice-president Mustafa Özat had said the player was rescued.

“We are doing everything we can to locate Christian,” said Nana Sechere.

As you can imagine, this continues to be a devastating time for his family.”

In a social media post, the agent added: “Following yesterday’s update from the club that Christian had been pulled out alive, we are yet to confirm Christian’s whereabouts.”

Hatayspor manager Volkan Demirel told Turkish sport website Spor Arena there was “no news yet” on either Atsu or sporting director Taner Savut, who was reported missing on Monday along with the player.

Savut’s location and condition is currently unknown.

“If they were in hospital, don’t you think I would share this? Please don’t be sure that he survived. This should not be written as he survived,” he said.

Ghana’s Ambassador to Turkey, Francisca Ashietey-Odunton, told radio station Joy FM there was “confusion” as to where Atsu had been sent.

“Yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here informed me that they wanted to confirm if Christian Atsu had been found and rescued, and sent to a medical centre,” she said.

“However, in all the confusion – which is understandable under the circumstances [as you are rescued you are put in an ambulance and sent to the hospital] – they are not sure yet which particular hospital or health facility he has been sent to.

“This morning again, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has assured me they are working feverishly to find out which facility he was sent to and will get back to me as soon as possible because I have been on them that I need to go and see him.”

Atsu, 31, played 107 games for Newcastle and had spells with Chelsea, Everton and Bournemouth.

He has won 65 caps for Ghana and joined Hatayspor in September after a season with Saudi Arabian team Al-Raed.

The club’s vice president Mustafa Ozat had previously confirmed that Atsu was taken out of the rubble with injuries.

But, according to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, there are now fears the footballer was not among those found in the rubble.

Hatayspor’s club doctor Gurbey Kahveci said: ‘When we heard the news that “he was taken to Dortyol Hospital”, we especially went and looked, but he was not there.

‘At the moment we accept that Savut Taner [sporting director] and Christian Atsu were not found, unfortunately.’ 

The devastating event has seen the death toll hit 11,000, making it the deadliest earthquake for a decade. ‘

Atsu’s team-mate Kerim Alici, a close friend, had confirmed on Turkish TV that the player had been rescued alive, which has prompted further confusion over whether the player has been found or not.

Atsu’s agent Sechere, who is in London and not in Turkey with the player, has also revealed that the 31-year-old had plunged from the ninth floor of his apartment building when the devastating earthquake hit.

He explained that 20 minutes after returning home from a poker night with team-mates, Atsu was sent plunging to the ground.

‘The last I heard from him was at midnight on Sunday. Christian and his team-mates were playing poker until 3:30am at a friend’s apartment,’ Sechere told the Mirror. 

“The journey back to his apartment was around half an hour. He returned at 4am and the earthquake started around 20 minutes later. I didn’t know anything until I received a call from a club official at 5am asking if I’d heard from Christian. 

‘He told me Christian’s building had been completely destroyed and that they couldn’t get hold of him.’ 

Footage shared on social media by Ajansspor showed a team attempting to rescue Atsu in the village of Ekinci in the Adıyaman District. 

It is claimed in the video that voices of Atsu and sporting director Taner Savut can be heard. Hurriyet detailed on Tuesday that there is an anxious wait to find Savut with rescue teams navigating the rubble.

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.’

The earthquake hit hard in Kahramanmaras, where Hatayspor are based.

Hatayspor players Burak Oksuz, Kerem Alici and Onur Ergun, as well as team officials Ekrem Eksioglu and Osman Ates, were rescued from the rubble on the first day, it was reported.

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. He has also won 65 caps for Ghana.


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