Soccer player Christian Atsu still missing after reports he was found alive in rubble of Turkey earthquake
The search for Ghanaian soccer player Christian Atsu continues after reports that he was found alive in the rubble of the catastrophic earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria.
Atsu, who plays for Turkish club Hatayspor, was reported missing Monday along with Taner Savut, the club's sporting director, several hours after the quake hit. They were suspected to be in the rubble of a collapsed building in Turkey's Hatay province.
On Tuesday, Hatayspor vice president Mustafa Ozat told Turkish media that Atsu had been found alive and was dug out of the rubble, but Savut had not yet been located. The Ghanaian Football Association also tweeted the good news about Atsu, indicating that he'd been injured and was "receiving treatment." No additional information about his injuries or treatment was available.
According to Atsu's agent, Nana Sechere, those reports were misinformed. On Wednesday, Sechere posted a statement on Twitter saying that Atsu is still missing.
"Following yesterdays update from the club that Christian had been pulled out alive, we are yet to confirm Christian’s whereabouts," Sechere wrote. "As you can imagine, this continues to be a devastating time for his family and we are doing everything we can to locate Christian."
Following yesterdays update from the club that, Christian had been pulled out alive, we are yet to confirm Christian’s whereabouts. As you can imagine, this continues to be a devastating time for his family and we are doing everything we can to locate Christian. pic.twitter.com/WKteG3l4cp
— Nana Sechere (@iAmNana7) February 8, 2023
The 31-year-old Atsu has been with Hatayspor since September 2022. Before that, he played 107 games for Newcastle and spent time with Everton and Chelsea. Hatayspor director Volkan Demirel confirmed Sechere's update via Reuters on Wednesday.
"There is no information on his whereabouts yet, we don't know where he is," Demirel said. "It's not the case that he was pulled out or taken anywhere else."
The initial earthquake hit at 4:17 a.m. local time Monday and measured 7.8 on the Richter scale, practically leveling several cities in Turkey and Syria. Nine hours later, the same area experienced a massive aftershock measuring 7.5. According to Reuters, the death toll is 5,100 and expected to keep rising.
The quake was so strong that it was felt nearly 300 miles from the epicenter. It was the strongest earthquake in Turkey since 1939, when a 7.7-magnitude earthquake killed more than 32,000 people.