Former Chelsea and Newcastle player Christian Atsu’s body is loaded onto plane bound for his home in Ghana after the footballer was found dead in rubble of Turkey earthquake
- Christian Atsu has been found dead following the earthquake in Turkey
- The 31-year-old’s whereabouts were unknown after the disaster on February 6
- His body was pictured bound for Ghana at Adana airport in southern Turkey
The body of former Chelsea and Newcastle player Christian Atsu was loaded onto a plane bound for his home in Ghana after the footballer was found dead in the rubble of Turkey’s earthquake.
Christian Atsu had been missing since the early hours of the morning of February 6 following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Hatay, Turkey.
The 31-year-old’s ‘lifeless body was found under the rubble,’ Murat Uzunmehmet devastatingly revealed to reporters on Saturday – 12 days after the disaster first struck.
He added: ‘more items are still being taken out. His phone was also found.’
Today, Atsu’s body was placed in a coffin and loaded into a plane bound for Ghana at Adana airport in southern Turkey.
The coffin containing the body of former international football player Christian Atsu is loaded into an airplane bound for Ghana, at Adana airport in southern Turkey
Christian Atsu, 31, has been found dead following the devastating earthquake in Turkey
The Ghanaian foreign ministry said Atsu’s elder brother and twin sister were at the site when his body was recovered.
The ‘government extends to the widow and family of Christian Atsu our deepest condolences,’ the ministry said in a statement.
Atsu had been scheduled to fly out of southern Turkey hours before the quake, but Hatayspor’s manager said on Friday the Ghanaian had opted to stay with the club after scoring the winning goal in a Super Lig match.
Atsu’s club Hatayspor said on Twitter: ‘The funeral of our football player Christian Atsu, who lost his life under the collapse, is on his way to be sent to his hometown Ghana.
‘We will not forget you, Atsu. Peace be upon you, beautiful person. There are no words to describe our sadness. Rest in peace,’ they tweeted – as they blacked out their profile picture.
Atsu joined Hatayspor in September last year after spells with English Premier League clubs Everton, Chelsea and Newcastle United.
Newcastle – where Atsu spent four years of his career – also paid tribute, saying: ‘A talented player and a special person, he will always be fondly remembered by our players, staff and supporters.’
Former Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez described Atsu as a ‘special person’.
Atsu’s club Hatayspor said on Twitter: ‘The funeral of our football player Christian Atsu, who lost his life under the collapse, is on his way to be sent to his hometown Ghana’
Relatives of Atsu waited to receive news as search and rescue operations in Turkey took place
The Ghana international’s whereabouts were unknown following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake
‘He was a nice lad and always had a smile, I’m really sad for him and everyone who knew him,’ he told Sky Sports.
Atsu won 65 caps for Ghana and helped them to reach the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations final, where they lost to Ivory Coast on penalties. He was last selected to play for Ghana in 2019.
He joined Chelsea from Porto in 2013 and had several loan spells at clubs including Vitesse and Bournemouth.
‘Chelsea sends our heartfelt condolences to Christian’s family and friends and to all those affected by the earthquake tragedy,’ the London club said.
There were hopes the former winger had been rescued after the disaster first unfolded, but Hatayspor and agent Sechere had revealed over the past week that these claims were untrue.
Several search and rescue operations in the debris of the building where Atsu and Hatayspor’s sporting director Taner Savut lived, took place – with Savut also missing.
Atsu enjoyed an extremely impressive career and featured for Newcastle and Chelsea
More than 45,000 people have been killed in the earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria
Sechere explained on Tuesday how Atsu’s exact ‘room location’ and even two pairs of his shoes had been located.
More than 45,000 people have been killed in the earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria, and the toll is expected to rise further with some 264,000 apartments in Turkey destroyed and many still missing in the country’s worst modern disaster.
Tremors from the deadly quake – which lasted about a minute and could be Turkey’s largest ever – was felt as far away as Egypt, Lebanon and the island of Cyprus.
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