Massive 14m-high Berlin aquarium that had over 1,500 fish bursts, water spills into street

The Dom Aquaree is home to the world’s largest free-standing cylindrical aquarium at 14m in height with 1,500 fish. PHOTOS: CHRISWOOLLEYY/TWITTER, LARARIMMER/TWITTER
The German capital’s traffic information agency VIZ said there was an extremely large volume of water on the street outside. PHOTO: REUTERS
Around 350 people who had been staying at the Radisson Collection hotel were asked to pack their belongings and leave the building. PHOTO: LARARIMMER/TWITTER
A vehicle from the city cleaning department clearing the street of debris. PHOTO: AFP
Emergency services work on a street outside a hotel after a burst and leak of the AquaDom aquarium in central Berlin. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN - A huge aquarium in Berlin that was home to around 1,500 exotic fish burst on Friday, spilling 1 million litres of water and debris onto a major road in the busy Mitte district, emergency services said.

Around 100 emergency responders rushed to the site, a leisure complex that houses a Radisson hotel and a museum as well as what Sea Life Berlin said was the world’s largest freestanding cylindrical aquarium at 14m in height.

“It felt like an earthquake,” said hotel guest Naz Masraff.

Another hotel guest, Ms Sandra Weeser, spoke of chaos.

“The whole aquarium burst and what’s left is total devastation. Lots of dead fish, debris,” she told Reuters.

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Two people were injured by splinters of glass, and emergency services asked around 350 hotel guests to pack their belongings and leave amid concerns that there could be structural damage.

Buses were sent to provide shelter for the hotel guests, police said, as outside temperatures in Berlin in the morning hovered around -7 deg C.

Radisson told its Radisson Rewards loyalty club members in an e-mail that the Radisson Collection Hotel Berlin was closed until further notice.

Search and rescue dogs scoured the ground floor of the building, which was too littered with debris for responders to access, but found no casualties, the Berlin fire brigade said on Twitter.

A spokesman for the fire brigade told Reuters it was still unclear what had caused the AquaDom aquarium to burst.

‘Unbelievable’ damage

Sea Life Berlin said in a statement its team was shocked by the incident and was trying to obtain more information from the owners of the AquaDom about what had caused the incident.

The company, which had offered glass elevator rides through the AquaDom aquarium, said it would also remain closed until further notice.

Neither the fire brigade nor the police commented on the fate of the fish, though police said on Twitter there had been “unbelievable maritime damage”.

The force of the cascading water blew out the front doors of the building, spilling debris into the street. PHOTO: AFP

Emergency services shut a major road next to the complex that leads from Alexanderplatz toward the Brandenburg Gate due to the large volume of water that had flooded out of the building.

The aquarium was last refurbished in 2020, according to the website of the DomAquaree complex.

During the upgrading work, all the water was drained from the tank and the fish were moved to aquariums in the basement of the building, where there is a breeding care facility for the fish, it said.

DomAquaree as well as the AquaDom aquarium are owned by a real estate fund managed by Union Investment.

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