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Injured soccer player Christian Atsu pulled from rubble of Turkish earthquake

Christian Atsu was pulled from the rubble of a building that collapsed near the epicenter of Monday’s earthquake in Turkey. (Scott Heppell/AP)
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An injured Christian Atsu, a former Premier League soccer player, was pulled from the rubble of a building that collapsed in Turkey’s Hatay province, one of the areas closest to the epicenter of the earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria on Monday, an official for his current club said Tuesday.

“Christian Atsu was pulled out injured,” Mustafa Ozat, the vice president of Hatayspor of the Turkish Super Lig, told Radyo Gol on Tuesday. “Our sporting director, Taner Savut, is unfortunately still under the rubble.”

The death toll from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake has risen to over 5,100. A 7.5 magnitude quake was among the dozens of aftershocks.

Atsu, a 31-year-old who played forward on Ghana’s 2014 World Cup team, was “successfully rescued,” the Ghana Football Association tweeted Tuesday, adding that he “is receiving treatment.” Atsu, who played for Newcastle, Chelsea, Everton and Bournemouth in the Premier League before joining Hatayspor last year following a brief stint with Saudi club Al Raed, was reported missing Monday, prompting messages of prayers and solidarity on social media.

“Hatay was deeply affected,” Ozat added in his radio interview. “We are coming towards the end of the most dangerous hours.”

Atsu scored nine goals in 65 appearances for Ghana between 2012 and 2019. He scored the winning goal deep in stoppage time of Hatayspor’s most recent Super Lig match Sunday against Kasimpasa.

Victoria Bisset in London contributed to this report.