Ghanaian soccer player Christian Atsu, 31, was found dead under the rubble of the building he lived in after last week’s devastating earthquake in southern Turkey. The former Premier League player, who joined Turkish club Hataysporlast year, has been missing since the February 6 earthquake devastated southern Turkey and northwestern Syria.
Search teams recovered Atsu’s body in the ruins of Ronesans Residence, a luxury 12-story building where he had been living, in the city of Antakya in Hatay province. The building’s contractor was arrested at Istanbul airport last week while apparently trying to leave the country for Montenegro, according to state news agency Anadolu. Atsu had been scheduled to fly out of southern Turkey hours before the earthquakes, but Hatayspor’s manager said on Friday that the Ghanaian opted to stay with the club after scoring the winning goal in a Super Lig match on February 5.
Ghana’s ministry of foreign affairs said it had “received the unfortunate news”.Atsu joined Hatayspor last September after spells with English Premier League clubs Everton, Chelsea, and Newcastle United.
He joined Chelsea from Porto in 2013 and has had multiple loan spells at clubs such as Vitesse and Bournemouth. Everton also stated on Twitter, saying the club was “deeply saddened” by the news of Atsu’s death. Earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria have killed more than 45,000 people and destroyed nearly 264,000 homes in Turkey. However, the death toll is expected to continue to rise as many people remain missing.