Patna: Blessings of the almighty and prompt action by IAF had helped the Indian under-14 girls football team escape the devastating earthquake in Nepal, its captain Soni Kumari said today.

Soni, who hails from East Champaran district of Bihar and team member Nisha Kumari of Siwan returned here last night from Delhi. They were airlifted by an Indian Air Force plane from Kathmandu on Sunday evening.

Recounting Saturday's temblor that flattened the Himalayan country, Soni told PTI, "We were in the dressing room of Dasrath stadium in Kathmandu on Saturday and mentally preparing ourselves to face a tough match against Iran for the third place when suddenly the lights went off. Our coach started shouting at us to rush to the middle of the stadium ground."

"The entire team and support staff members immediately ran to the middle of the ground as the earthquake shook the ground. "We spent 5-6 hours in the field praying silently and saw so many high-rises collapsing around the ground," she said. The team returned to their hotel room around 8 pm shivering in fear. But the quake struck for a second time that night and its members ran for safety to the hotel lawn and spent the night there, she recounted.

"Next day morning local authorities helped us to get in the touch with our parents and family members over phone. In the afternoon, Indian Air Force (IAF) plane came like a 'Akashdoot' (angel) and flew us to New Delhi on Sunday," she said.

Sunil Verma, her mentor in the game, when contacted said, "We are thankful to God and the Indian rescue team that Soni and other members of the team returned home safely."