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.
Christian Atsu, pictured here playing for Chelsea in 2016, has reportedly been rescued from under the rubble of a collapsed building in Turkey following a devastating earthquake
Footage from one rescue mission claimed the voice of Atsu could be heard on the approach
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.
Thousands of people are known to have died after two massive earthquakes and dozens of aftershocks caused buildings to collapse in Turkey on Monday
Atsu (left), celebrating a goal on February 2 for Hatayspor in a match against Kasimpasa
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.
The Ghana Football Association said on Tuesday: ‘We’ve received some positive news that Christian Atsu has been successfully rescued from the rubble of the collapsed building and is receiving treatment. Let’s continue to pray for Christian.’
A post on Newcastle’s official Twitter account on Monday 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.’
Newcastle had posted a message on social media in which they were ‘praying for good news’
Atsu’s most recent message on Twitter followed his club’s 1-0 victory on Sunday in which the 31-year-old scored the winner in the seventh minute of stoppage time
A search and rescue mission is ongoing to find any people that are trapped under the rubble
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 Volkan Demirel broke down in tears on social media as he implored the world to help his homeland after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Sunday.
Demirel, who made 63 senior caps for Turkey during his international career, took to Instagram in a live video on Monday morning to beg for support.
Tremors from the deadly quake were felt as far away Egypt, Lebanon and the island of Cyprus – and a tsunami warning was briefly issued by authorities in Italy along the country’s coastline
‘Help! I want you to send all the resources you have to the environmentalist. It is not just Hatay and Antakya,’ Demirel pleaded.
‘Please, I’m asking you. Please, please, for the love of God, people are dying here. For the love of God…’
Despite starting the video off in a relatively composed manner, Demirel soon broke down in tears as he begged for help, appropriately capturing the grief and anguish his nation is experiencing after the earthquake.
The wife of Hatayspor manager Demirel shared a tearful message after a massive aftershock with a magnitude of 7.5 hit Turkey’s south hours after the original quake.
‘Hatay is in a very bad way,’ Zeynep Sever Demirel said in a video shared on social media.
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.