Former Premier League star Christian Atsu has been found alive but injured following the tragic 7.7 magnitude earthquake in Turkey, it has been confirmed.
The former Chelsea and Newcastle winger, now at Super Lig side Hatayspor, was missing after a series of devastating earthquakes which have claimed more than 4,000 lives across Turkey and Syria.
Atsu was caught up in the natural disaster in Kahramanmaras, where Hatayspor are based, along with club sporting director Taner Savut.
Hatayspor vice president Mustafa Ozat has now confirmed that Atsu is out of the rubble but injured, while the search for Savut continues.
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.”
Ghana’s ambassador to Turkey, Francisca Ashitey-Odunton, has received information from the country’s football authorities that Atsu has been found.
Atsu’s team-mate Kerim Alici, a close friend, has also confirmed on Turkish TV that the player has been rescued.
Two more players from Hatayspor – Burak Oksuz and Bertug Yildirim – have also been saved from the rubble.
And two members of the technical team – Ekrem Eksioglu and Osman Ates – also survived the wreckage with their health said to be good.
Atsu’s teammates Onur Ergun and Burak Oksuz were found alive by rescue teams on Monday and Portuguese Hatayspor players Ruben Ribeiro and Cape Verdean Ze Luis are safe.
Meanwhile, Hatayspor defender Kerim Alici got out of the rubble himself.
Ghana international Atsu joined Chelsea in 2013, where he was shipped off on loan spells to Everton and Bournemouth, along with Vitesse, Malaga and Newcastle.
The Magpies turned his temporary stay into a permanent switch in 2017 after Atsu helped the Toon win the Championship title.
He stayed at the club until 2021, before making the move to the Middle East where he then returned to Europe last year to link up with Hatayspor.
Newcastle took to social media to send support to Atsu amid the search, as they tweeted: “Praying for some positive news Christian Atsu.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea tweeted: “We’re praying for you, Christian Atsu.”
Atsu scored his first goal for the club this weekend prior to the earthquake hitting in a 1-0 win over Kasimpasa.
As of yet, it is reported at least 4,100 people are feared to have died in the earthquake that struck the country at around 4am on Monday morning.
And experts have claimed that figure could rise to as high as 10,000 people after Turkey was hit by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake shortly after.
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