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Woman, 97, found alive in Iran quake ruins

This 97-year-old woman, rescued Saturday, survived by hiding under a table and breathing air from a ventilation pipe.
This 97-year-old woman, rescued Saturday, survived by hiding under a table and breathing air from a ventilation pipe.

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The U.S. aid workers are the first American officials in Iran in 20 years.
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U.S. aid workers' arrival spurs hope for renewed dialogue with Iran.
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BAM, Iran (CNN) -- Eight days after an earthquake devastated the ancient city of Bam, a 97-year-old woman was pulled alive from the rubble Saturday afternoon by rescue workers with Iran's Red Crescent Society.

Shahrbanu Mozandarani was the first person found alive since midweek.

"God kept me alive," Mozandarani told Red Crescent officials in the hospital after her rescue, Reuters news agency said.

Doctors said she showed signs of weakness and shock, but was otherwise in good condition. Rescuers said they found the woman inside a room filled with rubble from a collapsed roof.

The woman told them she survived by hiding under a table and getting air from a pipe leading into the room from a vent.

Denis McClean, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said Mozandarani was "certainly in a weakened state, but she was remarkably serene" when she was brought to the emergency center established by the Iranian Red Crescent.

"The first thing she said was, 'I am very cold. Can you please touch my head,'" McClean said. "And the volunteer stroked the back of her head. Then she asked for a cup of tea and she complained that it was too hot and asked that it be spoon-fed to her."

McClean said finding the woman was "a miracle" for crews who have already pulled the bodies of about 30,000 Bam residents from 95 percent of the destroyed city.

It is, he said, "an enormous source of hope and inspiration to them ... it is encouraging them to continue their meticulous search of the rubble."

Iranian authorities on Thursday ended general search-and-rescue operations, reserving such efforts to responses to tips.

The Iranian army pulled out seven more survivors Wednesday, bringing to 11 the number of people found alive between Monday and Wednesday.

There was more good news at the at a field hospital staffed by Americans. Dr. Anne Kathryn Goodman from Massachusetts General Hospital delivered four healthy babies.

"It's something that I will never forget for the rest of my life," she said.

Relief workers from Iran and more than 60 countries have been trying to help tens of thousands of survivors who are homeless and without basic necessities.

The magnitude 6.6 quake killed about 30,000 residents of the city of some 90,000.

The United States had hoped to send a governmental humanitarian delegation to Iran, headed by Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-North Carolina, a former president of the American Red Cross. However, Iran rejected the offer, saying a visit was possible later.

Washington-Tehran relations have been troubled since 1979 when Iranians seized American hostages in the U.S. Embassy and held most of them for 444 days.


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