Ghanaian soccer athlete Christian Atsu is reportedly stuck under rubble after an earthquake struck Turkey early Monday morning. According to reports, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake erupted near southeast Turkey and northern Syria and generated several aftershocks.
Atsu, who plays for Hatayspor in the Turkish Super Lig, was with team personnel during the earthquake. The 31-year-old striker is believed to be trapped alongside Hatayspor scouting director Taner Savut.
The Independent reported that rescue efforts are ongoing for Atsu and Savut. The 31-year-old striker previously played for Chelsea and Newcastle. Several in the soccer community have offered prayers and support that both are found safely.
Reports also circulated that other Hatayspor members were pulled out of the rubble.
Turkish television outlet TRT Haber reported that athletic performance coach Murat Bel was found safe. His family is considered in good condition. Fellow Haytaspor players Burak Öksüz, Bertuğ Yıldırım, Kerim Alici and Onur Ergün were also rescued.
Here is what we know about the earthquake in Turkey:
Who is Christian Atsu?
Christian Atsu is a professional soccer striker who currently plays for Hatayspor soccer club. He also starred for Chelsea and Newcastle United during his career. In international play, he made 65 appearances for Ghana. He scored nine goals for his national team and was named to the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad.
Latest updates on Turkey earthquake
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southeast Turkey and northern Syria early Monday morning. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the earthquake struck at 4:17 a.m. local time. Multiple aftershocks continued to affect the area.
In the latest update, USA TODAY reports the death toll has topped 2,300 and is rising. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at least 8,500 have been injured in the country. At least 1,280 injuries have also been reported in Syria.
U.S. President Joe Biden offered his support to both nations.
‘I am deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake in Turkiye and Syria,’ President Biden said in a statement.
Athletes impacted in Turkey
Several athletes are playing professionally in Turkey. WNBA star Breanna Stewart, who recently joined the New York Liberty, posted on Instagram from Fenerbahçe. Winsidr reporter Myles Ehrlich reported that many WNBA players are currently safe.
‘Many WNBA players that have been competing abroad in Turkey are currently elsewhere and safe, with the league on a two-week break,’ Ehrlich reported. ‘Praying for all the lost, the missing, and anybody else currently being affected by this terrible tragedy.’