Dhaka: The Indian Under-23 football team here for the AFC Championship Qualifiers survived a fire scare today when smoke spewed out from the rear of the team bus carrying players from a training session.
The 30-member Indian contingent, including national senior team coach Stephen Constantine, reacted in panic and immediately vacated the bus. They were left stranded on the streets for some time and were eventually taken to the team hotel by the police escort vehicles in turns.
They were on their way back to the team hotel from a morning recovery session when a burning smell hit everyone inside the bus and emission of smoke was spotted from the cylinders at the rear.
"Everyone was caught in a state of shock for a while. The organisers apologised later for the incident. The players and the support staff have reached the team hotel safely and all of them are all right now," Indian team media officer Nilanjan Datta told PTI.
"We are not making any official complaint on this incident," he added.
Few of the support staff, including Under-23 head coach Savio Medeira, even walked towards the team hotel before being picked-up by vans which were shuttling to offer help to the members of the stranded squad.
"It was scary. For a moment we were flummoxed. We just could not understand what to do," Medeira was quoted as saying by the official AIFF website.
"I need to thank the local police in Bangladesh for their timely support and cooperation without which we could have ended up worse," he added.
India take on hosts Bangladesh in their group league encounter tomorrow.
Bangladesh Football Federation General Secretary Mohd. Abu Nayeem Sohag later met Medeira and enquired about the incident and assured full cooperation from their side.
The official website said that the shock on the faces of India U-23 Players was very much evident even after settling down at the hotel.
"Even as they went through their routine treatments, rest and meals, the incident comes back to haunt them at almost every moment," it said.