World Cup star Christian Atsu still missing after false report he survived Turkey earthquake

World Cup soccer star Christian Atsu — who was believed to have been pulled from the rubble of the earthquake in Turkey — is still missing, his agent said Wednesday.

Christian Atsu’s agent said despite his soccer club announcing on Tuesday that the player had survived the ruinous earthquake, they haven’t been able to confirm his whereabouts. It’s unclear what contributed to the confusion.

“Following yesterday’s update from the club that, Christian had been pulled out alive, we are yet to confirm Christian’s whereabouts,” his agent Nana Sechere said in the statement posted to Twitter.

“As you can imagine, this continues to be a devastating time for his family and we are doing everything we can to locate Christian,” he added.

The Ghanaian soccer star plays for Hatayspor, a team based in the Hatay province of Turkey, the area most devastated by the massive quake.

Christian Atsu
Christian Atsu was said to have been found alive following the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey on Monday, but his agent said that claim has not been confirmed.
Newcastle United via Getty Image

emergency rescue teams helping following the earthquake
The earthquake killed over 11,000 people across Turkey and Syria, and the death toll will likely continue to rise, officials have said.

The team’s manager Volkan Demirel told Turkish sports website Spor Arena Monday that both Atsu and the team’s sporting director Taner Savut were still unaccounted for.

“There is no news about Atsu and Taner Savut yet,” Demirel said.

But Tuesday, the club’s vice president Mustafa Özat said Atsu had been rescued.

Hatayspor team doctor Gurbey Kahveci said he went to the hospital after hearing Atsu had been pulled out of the rubble alive and only suffered injuries ﹘ but he was not there.

Christian Atsu
Christian Atsu previously played for Chelsea, Everton, Bournemouth and Newcastle United.
Newcastle United

road broken in earthquake
Emergency teams have worked all around the clock trying to rescue people from the rubble left behind.

“When we heard the news that ‘he was taken to Dortyol Hospital,’ we especially went and looked, but it was not there. At the moment, we accept that [the sporting director] Taner Savut and Christian Atsu were not found, unfortunate,” he told radio station Joy FM.

Sechere said he last heard from the 31-year-old former Chelsea, Everton, Bournemouth and Newcastle United winger on Sunday, hours after he brought his team to victory in the final minute of a game against his club’s rival.

“The last I heard from him was at midnight on Sunday. Christian and his teammates were playing poker until 3:30 a.m. at a friend’s apartment,” Sechere told the Mirror.

Christian Atsu
Christian Atsu brought his team to a last-second victory on Sunday, scoring against the team’s rival.
picture alliance via Getty Image

The natural disaster reportedly destroyed Atsu’s 11-story apartment building, in which he lived on the ninth floor.
Getty Images

Atsu returned to the apartment around 4 a.m. and the natural disaster began about 20 minutes later.

Sechere said he was told the athlete’s 11-story building had been “completely destroyed,” and that no one had heard from him.

“I was hoping he was awake and that the earthquake hadn’t happened while he was sleeping. He was in an 11-story building and he was on the ninth floor. The club officials were trying to help me find him but it was so hard because, understandably, they were trying to find their own friends and families as well,” Sechere said.

ruins in Turkey
The most ruinous quake in decades, the initial tremor took down over 6,400 buildings in Turkey, where the country’s death toll nears 9,000.

earthquake ruins
Rescue teams have searched through the night, and continue to race against the clock trying to find survivors.

More than 11,000 people have been confirmed dead in the natural disaster, leaving rescue teams to search through the night amid freezing temperatures and a frantic race against the clock to try and find survivors.

Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan, a Turkish goalkeeper, was among the casualties in the earthquake, his club Yeni Malatyaspor confirmed. 

“Our goalkeeper, Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan, lost his life after being under the collapse of the earthquake. Rest in peace,” a message on the club’s Twitter account read. “We will not forget you, beautiful person.” 

Turkaslan, 28, had played six times for the Turkish second division club since joining in 2021. 

earthquake ruins
The death toll in Turkey neared 9,000 and the total in Syria climbed over 2,500 as of Wednesday.
AFP via Getty Images

Officials say the death toll may rise even higher due to the sheer number of collapsed buildings and unaccounted-for people now over 50 hours after the natural disaster. 

The most ruinous quake in decades, the initial tremor took down over 6,400 buildings in Turkey, where the country’s death toll nears 9,000. Meanwhile, the death toll in Syria, already devastated by 11 years of war, climbed to over 2,500 overnight, officials said.

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