The combined death toll in Turkey and Syria has risen to at least 2,600 from two earthquakes that struck the countries within the space of 12 hours. That number is expected to increase rapidly with many people still missing and trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings.
One of those still unaccounted for is former Newcastle winger and Ghana international Christian Atsu after the collapse of an apartment building in Hatay, Turkey.
The 31-year-old signed with Süper Lig club Hatayspor in September and is feared to be trapped along with sporting director Taner Savut after other club players and staff had been rescued from the rubble.
Praying for some positive news, @ChristianAtsu20. pic.twitter.com/HQT6yZOmRB— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) February 6, 2023
Atsu played in Sunday's league match against Kasimpasa and scored the winning goal off the bench. He was reported missing just hours later.
Former Ghana international Christian Atsu scored this stunning freekick last night for Hatayspor in the 97th minute against Kasimpasa to record a 1-0 win.However, the ex-Chelsea & Newcastle player is reportedly trapped in the rubble after the earthquake in Turkey overnight. pic.twitter.com/fzqEqJFJx2
— Usher Komugisha (@UsherKomugisha) February 6, 2023
"Christian Atsu and Taner Savut are still under the rubble," Hatayspor vice president Mustafa Ozat confirmed to Play Spor.
Atsu made his debut for Ghana at the age of 20 and represented his nation at the 2014 World Cup, starting all three group stage matches. Atsu also played a vital role in Ghana's run to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Final. He was named Player of the Competition and scored the Goal of the Tournament.
Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo tweeted the following statement.
May their souls rest in perfect peace. Our hearts and prayers go out to the survivors, and we pray that our fellow Ghanaian, Christian Atsu, is found safe and sound. 2/2 pic.twitter.com/7GOtpYyKAI— Nana Akufo-Addo (@NAkufoAddo) February 6, 2023