“I saw people die next to me.. I wanted to jump from the 7th floor” Cameroon and Hatayspor midfielder Kevin Soni recounts the traumatic experience and how he barely survived the earth quake in Turkey
Cameroon and Hatayspor midfielder Kevin Soni has not yet gotten over the Earth quake he experienced on Monday February 6th in Turkey. The Hatayspor midfielder was present in one of the worst hit cities in Turkey when the earth quake thas claimed over 9000 lives happened.
In an interview with Foot Mercato, the Kevin Soni explains how he barely survived and how the traumatic event has affected him since then
When asked Foot Mercato how he was here is what the player had to say
“I’m fine… Frankly, it’s an ordeal I’ve never experienced before. It’s really something that you don’t expect and that marks you for life. It is often said that in life you never know. I can tell you that I really saw why they say you never know a few days ago. At the time, I said to myself it’s the end of the world and the end, period. I saw people die next to me. I am traumatised. Today, I realize that life hangs by a thread. It is in these moments that we realize that everything is vanity. Everyone abandons their house, their cars, and looks for a place to take refuge. It was really a situation worthy of a movie on Netflix except that it was the reality unfortunately. It’s the thing that shocked me the most since I started playing football and in my life”
“I went home after the game. I was sitting with my cousins and we were playing PlayStation. Around 4 or 5 a.m. the ground started shaking. At the time, I told my cousins to calm down. It was when the ceiling and the walls started falling on us that we started to flee up the stairs. We just had time to take our passports and our phones, I don’t even know how I managed to think about it. We were lucky enough to get out of the building before everything collapsed (…) It was a day when everything really changed. There were many deaths. If you had told me that a week before, I would have told you that it was impossible…” he continued
“At the time, I didn’t necessarily get it. This is the first time I have experienced such a thing. I felt the earth shake and thought there must be a strong wind outside. But it was when I saw that the tremors were really powerful and the ground started to split in two, I thought it was really serious. At first I wanted to jump out the window. But we were really high, on the seventh floor. I said to myself if I jump there, I will break my foot and I will not play football anymore. So I took the stairs and raced out” continued the 24 year old
The player continued to narrate what he thought about himself and loved ones when he saw the building collapsing on them
“yes, that’s clear. When you see people dying next to you, you tell yourself you’re going to be next. The building was falling on top of us. We were really lucky because we got out a bit before it collapsed. I thought we did well. But once outside, we saw the building crumble and turn to dust. There was nothing left. Then I saw the ground split in two. I said to myself that if we managed to get out of this city, it was because God had wanted it. The floor could crack at any moment. And that was the case, the road split in two. I didn’t know what was in the depths of the earth. That day, I saw what was down there. It’s all black, there’s nothing down there. I don’t know what it is but it’s all black”
Asked by Foot Mercato if he felt miraculous, Kevin Soni recounted what saved him from exiting the building before it collapsed
“yes. But I said to myself that if I didn’t go there that day, it wasn’t my day. I am a Muslim and I am very religious. What saved me was that I wanted to wait until 6:40 a.m. to say the first prayer of the day. That’s why I couldn’t sleep. So I tell myself that if I had slept, seen how everything fell in the house, I would certainly have died. It’s even sure. The stones that fell were huge. It was a seventeen-story building, imagine. So if I had slept, I think I would have died”
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The Cameroon international narrated how it all happened and how the atmosphere was like before the 7.9 magnitude earth quake
” It was hot! After the events, I took my car to get to the club’s training center as quickly as possible. The players went there in order to confine themselves. We were sitting talking and trying to eat something but the floor kept shaking. Every ten minutes there were huge tremors. For two days, we didn’t eat. We only had water. We had fruit from time to time but there were women and children, with my teammates we left them these foodstuffs. We didn’t eat and we tried to fetch water so that the women and children could drink. A plane came to pick us up in the next town. We left everything there. The important thing was to be safe, the material is only vanity”
Ghanian player Cristian Atsu hasn’t been found been found since the earth quake on Monday, Kevin Soni confirmed he was the last person to talk to the player
“I get goosebumps talking to you. Before that happened, I was talking with Christian Atsu on the phone. He had scored a free kick on Sunday and I told him that he had played well and that I had liked his match. I told him that I hoped to find the grounds quickly so that we could play together. But I didn’t know that was the last time I spoke with him. Two hours later, I had no more news. I was told that my friend might be dead, it’s enough to drive you crazy. I am certainly the last person to have spoken with him on the phone. I’m not proud to say that, I really hope we find him safe and sound. It is my wish. I pray for this everyday”
Soni confirmed Christian Atsu hasn’t been found despite reports by several media houses that he has been found
“These are lies. Tuesday evening, we flew back to Istanbul and he was not with us. If he had been found, why wasn’t he on the plane? These are lies. They may have said that to maintain hope and not to frighten his family. What I can tell you is that he did not fly with us to Istanbul. I hope we will find him”
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