The world's luckiest goldfish?

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A goldfish called Stephen survived an earthquake and spent three weeks home alone. He was rescued just hours before the building he was in was demolished.

Stephen had been which had been living in an antiques store when the Christchurch earthquake on February 22 hit, and his owners, who lived upstairs, had to flee the building.

Three weeks later, his owners were given the opportunity to retrieve a few valuables just before the building – which was missing some walls – was torn down.

When they met USAR personnel, police and an excavator outside the store his owner asked if Stephen could be rescued from the top of the stairs.

But when the team leader returned he said that although he'd found the bowl, it was just half full of water, and had a lump of brick inside it – but no fish. The assumption was that a passing seagull had flown into the house through a missing wall and had made a meal of the unfortunate fish.

However, a few hours later, another USAR member decided to retrieve the empty bowl anyway – and it was found to contain the missing goldfish after all! He had been hiding under a plant, out of sight.

Stephen had a wound on his side, but it has healed well and he's now living happily at his new home.