ROME - Two Knoxville women are thankful to be alive after experiencing tremors from a deadly earthquake in Italy.
"We were getting ready, packing to come home,” said Lori Fleishman.
The tense moments began on their last day abroad.
"I had woken up and had no idea what was going on, it seemed just really, really unnerving,” said Jennifer Ho.
An attorney, Fleishman was traveling to Tuscany on a business trip, with goddaughter Jennifer tagging along to experience the country.
An earthquake struck the small city of Amatrice early Wednesday morning. A magnitude 6.2, it destroyed ancient buildings and homes.
"The mayor appeared today and said half the town is missing, churches, half the church is missing, you can see the clock and half of it is destroyed,” said Fleishman
More than 100 miles away, they felt the tremors in their Rome hotel.
"I thought the building was literally about to fall down,” said Fleishman, “Started swaying and rocking and I thought we were going to die. I hate to say that, but I saw my life flash before my eyes.”
According to NBC news, as of Wednesday afternoon, 120 people have been killed in the natural disaster.
"Our prayers and best wishes go to them, we are just very sad and appreciate life much more,” said Fleishman.
As they say goodbye to Italy, it’s not without noticing a changed atmosphere around them.
"I think everybody was in a state of shock still," said Fleishman.
"Everyone’s a little nervous, pretty edgy,” said Ho.
Still thankful for their travels, this trip is leaving them with a different outlook on life.
"Yesterday, we had taken a tour through the Sistine Chapel,” said Fleishman, “To have this happen on the heels of that I know you just have to live each day, to the fullest.”
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