Ghana: Turkey Earthquake - Christian Atsu Still Missing

Christian Atsu of Ghana (file photo).
8 February 2023

Wild jubilation had greeted the initial report that the former Chelsea and Newcastle United winger had been rescued.

Contrary to initial reports, Ghana football star Christian Atsu is yet to be rescued from the rubble of the devastating earthquake that rocked Turkey and neighbouring Syria on Monday.

Wild jubilation had greeted the initial report that the former Chelsea and Newcastle United winger had been rescued, however, the latest updates from Atsu's club indicate otherwise.

Volkan Demirel, director at Atsu's club Hatayspor told Reuters on Wednesday the player had still not been found after it had been announced he'd been pulled from the rubble and taken to hospital on Monday.

"There is no information on his whereabouts yet, we don't know where he is," Demirel said. "It's not the case that he was pulled out or taken anywhere else."

The search for Atsu is ongoing, Demirel added.

Atsu's agent, Nana Sekyere, also told Ghana-based news outlet, Joy Sports all his efforts to find his client are yet to yield anything positive.

He said: "No club official or hospital staff have been able to confirm his presence in any hospital in Hatya or a neighbouring country, we are still searching for him, so we are very concerned. It's 24 hours since it was reported he's alive, however, he has not been seen in any hospital.

"I am speaking to everybody; I am in direct contact with everybody at Hatayspor, I am also in contact with the Ghana and British consulates in Turkey and the Turkish football association."

The update provided by Ghana's Ambassador to Turkey, Francisca Ashietey-Odunton, in an interview with radio station Joy FM also points to Atsu still missing.

She said: "Yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here informed me that they wanted to confirm if Christian Atsu had been found and rescued, and sent to a medical centre," she said.

"However, in all the confusion - which is understandable under the circumstances [as you are rescued you are put in an ambulance and sent to the hospital] - they are not sure yet which particular hospital or health facility he has been sent to.

"This morning again, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has assured me they are working feverishly to find out which facility he was sent to and will get back to me as soon as possible because I have been on them that I need to go and see him."

Over 10,000 deaths have been recorded after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit south-eastern Turkey and northern Syria during the early hours of Monday morning.

It was followed by a second one of 7.5 magnitude.

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