New Delhi: India today said that it would evacuate on priority 18 members of the country's Under-14 girls football team which is stuck in Nepal following a massive earthquake.
In a tweet, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, "We will evacuate India's U-14 girls football team on priority".
The scared Indian girls and two support staff had decided to sleep outside their rooms at Hotel View Bhrikuti in Kathmandu for the fear of further aftershocks.
They were practicing in the stadium for the third-place play-off against Iran when the earthquake shook the venue and adjoining areas yesterday. The Indian team had earlier lost to hosts Nepal in the semifinals on Friday.
"We were doing the practice just before the start of the third place play-off against Iran and then we saw the stadium shaking. There were hundreds of people there to watch the match. We ran to the middle of the pitch and remained there as we saw buildings collapse in the adjoining areas. It was a real scary moment for us," coach Maymol Rocky had told PTI from Kathmandu.
"These girls are not even 14 and they have not experienced this kind of scary moment in their lives," she had said.
Shaken by the tremors, the Indian girls as well as the Iranians had reached the team hotel and decided to sleep in open space inside the hotel premises and not in their rooms.
"The place is still experiencing aftershocks even now and the girls are scared to sleep in their rooms inside the hotel.
We are staying outside the hotel but inside its compound in the open space tonight. The hotel staff is kind enough to provide us food and sleeping material. There is also no electricity outside. We know we will not be able to sleep tonight. The girls are really scared and want to go back home immediately," she had said.
Rocky said that the team manager Sapna has spoken to Indian embassy people but they have asked the players to come to the Kathmandu airport so that they can be airlifted by military planes sent by India.
An AIFF official here had said that the team will be brought back to India tomorrow by the military aircraft.