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Christian Atsu: Former Newcastle winger still missing nine days after Turkey earthquake

Former Newcastle winger Christian Atsu is missing after earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria on February 6; There had been reports the 31-year-old had been rescued but the Ghanian has still not been located; Atsu's agent Nana Sechere is appealing for more resources to aid rescue efforts

Ghana winger Christian Atsu
Image: Ghana winger Christian Atsu is still missing, says his agent Nana Sechere

Former Newcastle winger Christian Atsu is still missing nine days after an earthquake in Turkey, with his agent Nana Sechere appealing for more resources to aid rescue efforts.

More than 37,000 people have been killed after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit south-eastern Turkey and northern Syria during the early hours of February 6, followed by a second of 7.5.

Atsu, who plays for Turkish side Hatayspor, was reported missing after team-mates and members of the club's technical staff had been pulled from the rubble. There were reports last week that the Ghana international had also been freed, but they were incorrect and he remains missing.

"It has been nine days since the earthquake and we still have not located Christian," read a statement given to Sky Sports News from Atsu's agent Sechere.

"I am at the quake site in Hatay with Christian's family. The scenes are unimaginable and our hearts are broken for all the people affected.

"During my time here we have been able to locate Christian Atsu's exact room location, and we have found two pairs of his shoes.

"Yesterday we received confirmation that thermal imagery was showing signs of up to five lives, however, I am told that the only real confirmation of life is through sight, smell and sound, and unfortunately we were not able to locate Christian."

Sechere has called upon Hatayspor and Lutfu Savas, the mayor of Hatay, to provide more resources to help the rescue effort.

He added: "This is a difficult situation and we are extremely grateful to all the Turkish and foreign rescue teams, local civilians and volunteers for their efforts and response in rescuing survivors.

"However, we urgently need more resources, including a translator, on the ground. Things are moving incredibly slow and, as a result of that, many rescues are being delayed, and lives are being lost due to the lack of resources available to the workers.

"It is unfortunate that the club is not on the ground with us, side by side, in the search for Christian. Their position and influence, accompanied with their local knowledge would be extremely helpful.

"We implore the president of the club and mayor of Hatay, Lutfu Savas, to provide additional resources to speed up the rescue efforts as a priority."

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 also had brief spells at Everton and Bournemouth on a temporary basis.

Atsu, who scored deep into stoppage time in Hatayspor's last game to secure a 1-0 win over Kasimpasa, left St James' Park during the summer of 2021 after making 121 appearances for the club.

Turkish goalkeeper Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan died following Monday's earthquake in the country.

The 28-year-old's club, second division Yeni Malatyaspor, confirmed the news on Twitter.

"Our goalkeeper, Ahmet Eyup Turkaslan, lost his life after being under the collapse of the earthquake. Rest in peace," they wrote. "We will not forget you, beautiful person."

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