Turkey earthquake disaster: Christian Atsu rescued from rubble …nation relieved

Former Newcastle and Chelsea star Christian Atsu has finally been rescued from a destroyed building follow­ing an earthquake in Turkey.

Atsu, who was reportedly missing alongside Hatayspor sporting director Taner Savut, is injured but is now out of the building, the club’s vice president Mustafa Özat has confirmed.

Speaking to Radyo Gol, Ozat said: “Christian Atsu was taken out with injuries. Our sporting director, Taner Savut, is unfortu­nately still under the rubble.”

He added: “Hatay was deeply affected. We are coming towards the end of the most dangerous hours.”

On Tuesday morning Atsu’s team-mate Kerim Alici, a close friend, also confirmed on Turk­ish TV that the player had been rescued alive.

More than 4,100 people have been killed and thousands more injured after the catastrophic earth­quake that rocked Turkey and Syria overnight on Monday, flattening neighbourhoods while families were asleep.

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

It is claimed in the video that voices of Atsu and sporting direc­tor Savut can be heard.

Turkish newspaper Hurriyet has detailed that there is an anxious wait to rescue Savut, the sporting director, with rescue teams navigat­ing the rubble.

Hatayspor players Burak Öksüz, Kerem Alici and Onur Ergün, as well as team officials Ekrem Ekşioğlu and Osman Ateş, 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.

A post on Newcastle’s official Twitter account said: “Praying for some positive news, @ChristianAt­su20.”

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 player Onur Ergun posted an Instagram story in re­sponse to earlier reports that he is missing to say they were incorrect.

“Thank you very much to ev­eryone who called and asked,” the midfielder said. “The news is not true. I’m fine.

“I can’t answer the phone be­cause there is a network problem. Get well soon to all of us.”

Former Turkey international and Hatayspor manager Volkan­Demirel broke down in tears on social media as he implored the world to help his homeland after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Sunday.

Among the other Turkish ath­letes believed to be missing are 14 volleyball players from the Hatay team, handball international Cemal Kutahya and Hatayspor coach Savas Yukse.

Olympic gold medallist Taha Akgul said around 30 and 40 wres­tlers from a team based in Kahra­manmaras were also trapped under the rubble. -MailOnline

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