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Tumbling 30-ton rock raises thousands for earthquake victims

After a 30-ton rock crashed through the roof of his garage and came to rest in his hallway during the Feb. 22 earthquake, Christchurch resident Phil Johnson had an idea - why not sell it?

Phil Johnson / AP

In this photo taken March 1, a car-sized boulder is seen after smashing Phil Johnson's house in last month's earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. Johnson has sold the rock, Rocky, in an online auction for more than 60,000 New Zealand dollars (US$44,300). Johnson said the 30-ton boulder tumbled down from a hill overlooking his home, crunched through the roof of his garage and came to rest in his hallway during the Feb 22 quake. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal.

His listing on an online auction site described the "pristine condition" of the boulder Phil had dubbed 'Rocky' and suggested that it was "suitable for garden feature, or as in our case a magnificent addition to your living area."

The auction raised an astonishing US $44,300, and Phil is donating the proceeds to the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal. Rocky was bought by a company which runs ski resorts, according to a report in The New Zealand Herald.

80 year old Betty McGrail is not quite so enamored with the boulder that landed in her living room.

Sarah Ivey / AP

In this photo taken March 4, Betty McGrail, 80, sits in her living room next to a large boulder which crashed through her house in the Feb. 22 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The Herald reports that Betty fled her home when the earthquake struck. "There were boulders and rocks coming down the hill from all different areas," she said.

"They came down the hill fast, bouncing. They came from everywhere with a 'boom, boom, boom'. When I went back to my house this big boulder was in the sitting room. It's sitting there quite nicely, like it's happy to be there. And no one knows how to get it out."