Aquarium Filled with 1,500 Fish Bursts


Debris covers a street outside a hotel after the AquaDom aquarium burst inside the hotel in Berlin. | Image by Michele Tantussi/REUTERS

An aquarium built to hold over 200,000 gallons of water and house more than a thousand tropical fish broke inside a Radisson hotel in Berlin on Friday morning, injuring two people, flooding neighboring streets, and killing the fish.

Over 100 firefighters were sent to the Radisson Blu Hotel in the German capital’s Mitte neighborhood after a 16-meter aquarium housing 1,500 tropical fish burst, slightly injuring two and flooding nearby downtown Berlin on Friday morning.

“Police are still investigating what caused the aquarium to shatter inside the Radisson Hotel,” German reporter Anna Saraste posted on Twitter. Authorities do not suspect anything criminal led to the aquarium’s eruption.

The area around the complex was closed off, and police dogs were used to look through the wreckage for possible victims, Agence France-Presse reported. Two people sustained minor injuries, and the guests at the hotel were transferred to a sister property.

The 82-foot-tall AquaDom was reportedly the largest cylindrical tank in the world, and 1,500 tropical fish called it home before the incident. Approximately 264,000 gallons of water were poured from the aquarium shortly before 6 a.m.

Berlin Fire Department said it does not yet know precisely what happened. Though many of the 80 species of fish at the aquarium died, firefighters still made rescue attempts.

“Thanks to the special forces of the high-altitude rescue squad, several dozen live fish could still be saved from the upper construction area of the burst aquarium,” the Berlin Fire Department tweeted. “The pumping work and the removal of the debris are currently underway.”

Authorities said a loud noise around 6 a.m. was followed by parts of the hotel’s facade, including the aquarium, gushing through the hotel and into nearby streets, causing flooding. The water damaged a variety of shops and restaurants.

Mein Gott (My God),” exclaimed Niklas Scheele, standing inside the hotel as he recorded the aftermath. Emergency personnel on the lower-level work around the AquaDom in the clip.

“Our teams are working hard to prepare all available habitats to support with rehoming any AquaDom animals that need our help as soon as possible,” Marcel Kloos, regional manager at Merlin Entertainments, said in a press statement.

The free-standing aquarium was a popular site for tourists. Although it now looks “a bit like a war zone,” as German lawmaker Sandra Weeser called it, the 10-minute elevator ride through the depths of swirling colors was a major draw for visitors.

“Just yesterday we watched it and we were so amazed [by] its beauty,” explained Iva Yudinski, a tourist from Israel. “Suddenly it’s all gone. Everything is a mess, a total mess.”

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