Page last updated at 16:51 GMT, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 17:51 UK

Two 98-year-olds survived quake

Rescuers inspect a building near L'Aquila, 7 April 2009
Rescuers have been racing to save people from the rubble

Two 98-year-old women are among survivors pulled from the rubble by rescuers in the aftermath of a major earthquake in central Italy.

One of the women, Ines D'Alessandro, told the Ansa news agency how she had survived another earthquake in 1915.

The second woman was found in the village of Tempera, near L'Aquila, some 30 hours after the earthquake struck.

Buried under the rubble in her bed, Maria D'Antuomo said she had passed the time crocheting as she waited for help.

Carried to safety by firemen early on Tuesday she reportedly ate some crackers and asked to comb her hair.

Ms D'Alessandro said that during Monday's earthquake her wardrobe had been knocked over at the foot of her bed as fragments of plaster began to rain down.

She was uninjured, though she said the quake reminded her of the one she survived aged almost four.

After the 1915 earthquake her family moved back into their house when it was pronounced safe, but it collapsed in 1918, killing her two younger sisters.

On Tuesday, she was quoted as saying that her heart bled for the victims of this week's earthquake.

"I've fought all my life," she said. "Now we need to have courage."

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