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Soccer star Christian Atsu has been pulled from Turkey earthquake rubble alive, reports say

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Ghanaian soccer star Christian Atsu has been rescued from the rubble of the devastating earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria, according to reports.

The former Chelsea, Newcastle and Everton star plays for Turkish Super Lig club Hatayspor in the city of Antakya in southern Turkey.

Mustafa Özat, a spokesperson for Hatayspor, told Radyo Gol that Atsu was “removed injured” from the rubble. “Our sporting director, Taner Savut, is unfortunately still under the rubble,” he added.

“Christian Atsu has been pulled from the wreckage alive!” tweeted Istanbul-based sports journalist Yagiz Sabuncuoglu, who has been providing updates on the efforts to rescue Atsu and Savut.

Related: Soccer star Christian Atsu ‘under the rubble’ following Turkey earthquake, report says. Ghana Football Association remains ‘hopeful for positive news.’

“We’ve received some positive news that Christian Atsu has been successfully rescued from the rubble of the collapsed building and is receiving treatment,” tweeted the Ghana Football Association Tuesday. “Let’s continue to pray for Christian.”

Atsu represented Ghana at the 2014 World Cup and was voted player of the tournament at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015, where Ghana finished runners-up.

“We are relieved to hear @ChristianAtsu20 has been found and is recovering in hospital,” tweeted Atsu’s former team Everton. “Our thoughts continue to be with everyone affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.”

“Welcome news,” tweeted Newcastle United. “Our thoughts remain with Christian, his loved ones and all those affected by Monday’s devastating earthquakes.”

See Now: How to help Turkey earthquake victims: ‘Give cash’ and ‘take the long view’

“We’re praying for you, Christian Atsu,” tweeted Chelsea on Monday.

On Sunday, Atsu had tweeted out images from Hatayspor’s victory over Super Lig club Kasimpasa earlier that day, in which he scored the winning goal. Hours later earthquakes wrought devastation across the region.

The powerful 7.8 magnitude quake rocked wide swaths of Turkey and Syria early Monday, toppling hundreds of buildings. A second 7.5 magnitude quake also hit the region and aftershocks have continued, according to the Wall Street Journal. The death toll passed 5,000 Tuesday, with thousands more injured, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Turkish President Reccep Tayip Erdogan has declared a three-month state of emergency in areas of Turkey affected by the earthquakes.

Related: Turkey ETF tumbles and lira slumps to record low after major earthquake adds to economic woes

Turkey’s Daily Sabah reported that the runway of Hatay Airport, which serves Antakya, was split in two by the earthquake.

Additional reporting by Robert Schroeder.


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