Ex-Prem star Christian Atsu found alive after being pulled from rubble following Turkey earthquake

6 February 2023, 13:59 | Updated: 7 February 2023, 01:28

Former Premier League footballer Christian Atsu has been found alive and is now recovering in hospital after being dragged from the rubble following a devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria that left 3,500 people dead.
Former Premier League footballer Christian Atsu has been found alive and is now recovering in hospital after being dragged from the rubble following a devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria that left 3,500 people dead. Picture: Alamy / Getty

By Hannah Holland

Former Premier League footballer Christian Atsu has been found alive and is now recovering in hospital after being dragged from the rubble following a devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria that left 3,500 people dead.

A search and rescue operation was launched after Atsu, who played for Chelsea, Newcastle United, and Everton, was caught up in the 7.7 magnitude earthquake, having moved to Turkish Super Lig club Hatayspor last summer.

More than 3,500 people have been killed and thousands more injured after the catastrophic earthquake that shook Turkey and parts of northern Syria overnight.

READ MORE: Turkey rocked by second earthquake after massive 7.8 quake kills 1,200 as rescuers scramble for survivors

An extensive search and rescue operation is underway after a huge earthquake hit Turkey and Syria
An extensive search and rescue operation is underway after a huge earthquake hit Turkey and Syria. Picture: Twitter

Atsu scored his first goal for the club this weekend, just hours before the earthquake, scoring in the seventh-minute of stoppage time and securing a 1-0 victory for the team over Kasimpasa.

The 31-year-old Ghanaian international joined Chelsea in 2013 but was sent out on loan for a number of seasons to clubs including Everton and Bournemouth before making a permanent switch to Newcastle United in 2017.

Atsu played for Chelsea and Newcastle before moving to Turkish team Hatayspor
Atsu played for Chelsea and Newcastle before moving to Turkish team Hatayspor. Picture: Alamy

Two of his team-mates and members of the club's technical staff were said to have been rescued from the rubble earlier on.

Reports that he had been caught in the disaster prompted messages from the world of footballing praying for his safe return.

His former club Newcastle United shared that they were "praying for some positive news" on Twitter alongside a photo of Atsu.

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement: "I convey my best wishes to all our citizens who were affected by the earthquake that occurred in Kahramanmaraş and was felt in many parts of our country."

He added: "We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage, and we continue our work."

READ MORE: Man City face Premier League expulsion after being charged with more than 100 breaches of financial rules

The death toll in southern Turkey and northern Syria continues to rapidly increase following the two earthquakes which wrought havoc on towns and cities across a large area.

The first earthquake struck overnight, with a Richter scale magnitude of 7.8, followed by a second at around 13:30 local time on Monday afternoon.

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