Former Chelsea forward Atsu rescued after Turkey earthquake

Former Chelsea and Newcastle forward Christian Atsu was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building following the deadly earthquake that struck Turkey, the Ghana Football Association said in a Twitter post Tuesday.

The Ghana international plays for Turkish club Hatayspor. A club spokesman on Monday told Turkish media that Atsu was thought to be in a building that was brought down by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and aftershocks that struck southeastern Turkey and neighboring Syria. The death toll climbed above 7,700 and was expected to rise further.

Atsu’s whereabouts and condition were unconfirmed overnight until the Ghana FA posted an update on its official Twitter site on Tuesday saying: “We’ve received some positive news that Christian Atsu has been successfully rescued.”

Atsu was receiving treatment but the GFA didn’t give details of any injuries.

The 31-year-old Atsu joined Hatayspor, which is based in the southern city of Antakya, last year

Canada international defender Sam Adekugbe, who plays alongside Atsu at Hatayspor, has appeared to have confirmed his safety.

“May god have mercy on us,” the 28-year-old from Calgary wrote on Instagram.

The 31-year-old Atsu joined Hatayspor, which is based in the southern city of Antakya, last year.

The quake hit early Monday and was centred in Turkey’s southeastern province of Kahramanmaras. It was felt as far away as Cairo in Egypt. Multiple aftershocks caused more destruction.

Later Tuesday, second-division club Yeni Malatyaspor confirmed that 28-year-old goalkeeper Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan died following the earthquake.

More than 6,000 buildings collapsed in Turkey alone and rescuers are racing to find survivors in freezing temperatures. Officials say as many as 1,500 buildings were destroyed in the Hatay province, just southwest of the earthquake’s epicenter and where the Hatayspor club is based.

Turkish people on mind of Ghana president

Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo offered condolences to the people of Turkey on his official Facebook account and added: “We pray that our fellow Ghanaian, Christian Atsu, is found safe and sound.”

Ghana Football Association spokesman Henry Asante-Twum wrote in an email to The Associated Press they had no news of Atsu and Ghana’s international relations department was seeking information from Turkish authorities.

Ibrahim Kwarteng, a friend of Atsu, said he had tried calling Atsu but couldn’t reach him.

“We are only praying that he will be found,” Kwarteng said.

Kwarteng runs a foundation in Ghana that helps former prisoners convicted of petty crimes to be reintegrated into society after their release from jail. He said Atsu was the single largest donor to the foundation.

Newcastle said on its official Twitter account it was “praying for some positive news” regarding Atsu.

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