Ghana footballer Christian Atsu confirmed dead in Turkey quake

The body of former Premier League and Ghanaian national player Christian Atsu has been found under the rubble of a building in the Turkish southern province of Hatay.

His manager in Turkey, Murat Uzunmehmet, told local media that Atsu has been confirmed dead.

Atsu, 31, was caught up in a 7.8-magnitude quake that rocked Turkey and Syria on February 6, killing more than 43,000 people in both countries.

Initial reports indicated he had been rescued a day after the quake, but these turned out to be false.

His manager in Turkey, Uzunmehmet, told DHA news agency: “We have reached his lifeless body. His belongings are still being removed. His phone was also found.”

Midfielder Atsu spent four seasons at Chelsea before a permanent transfer to Newcastle in 2017. He signed in September for Turkish Super Lig side Hatayspor.

Search and rescue workers found Atsu’s body where he was staying at Ronesans Residence, a block of high-rise luxury flats that toppled over in Antakya city in Hatay.

“There are no words to describe our sadness,” tweeted his Turkish club Hatayspor on Saturday.

“We will not forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful person.”

His agent Nana Sechere, who has been in Hatay, also confirmed the news on Saturday on Twitter, writing: “It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to announce to all well wishers that sadly Christian Atsu’s body was recovered this morning.

“My deepest condolences go to his family and loved ones. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their prayers and support.”

The Ghana Football Association said Atsu’s body was recovered on Saturday morning after “almost two weeks of emotional torture”.

According to Anadolu news agency, Turkish police arrested the building’s contractor at Istanbul airport last week as he was trying to flee the country.