A famous aquarium in Berlin has burst, flooding the streets in a tide of devastation.
The nearly 50-foot-tall, 38-foot-wide AquaDom, located in the lobby of the Radisson Blu hotel mysteriously burst just before 6:00 a.m. Friday morning, releasing hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, debris, and, yes, dying tropical fish into the city streets. Described as the world’s largest freestanding aquarium, the structure was a common tourist attraction in the German capital city as it housed over 1,500 exotic fish.
Multiple areas of the hotel in which the architectural marvel stood were damaged by the water and glass, with around 300 guests and employees being evacuated. At least two people were taken to the hospital for injuries from the broken shards of glass, according to authorities. Mayor Franziska Giffey explained the tank released a “veritable tsunami” — but thankfully the early morning timing prevented the catastrophe from causing far more harm:
“Despite all the destruction, we were still very lucky.”
She noted the hotel “would have had terrible human damage” if the incident had occurred just one hour later, when guests would have been in the lobby and surrounding areas.
However, despite human life being miraculously preserved, nearly all of the 1,500 fish who called the tank home sadly perished. The Berlin Mitte district government confirmed shortly after the destruction in a translated Twitter thread:
“Update to #Aquadom : Almost all of the 1500 fish did not survive this morning’s accident. There are still a few fish at the bottom of the tank that are now to be rescued. Approximately 400 mostly smaller fish, which were in the back room (cellar) in quarantine and replacement tanks, survived.”
Thankfully, the surviving fish will be evacuated and rehoused in a neighboring facility:
“It is a great tragedy that there was no chance for 1500 fish to survive. The focus in the afternoon was clearly on rescuing the fish in the remaining tanks. I would like to thank everyone involved for the support & the quick evacuation to replacement pools.”
See the full thread (below):
While the cause of the tragedy has not yet been determined, there has been speculation that freezing temperatures, which got down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit overnight, may have caused a crack in the acrylic glass, which eventually exploded under the enormous weight of the water, according to the Associated Press. As of now, police do not believe the incident to be a targeted attack, according to the BBC.
Sandra Weeser, a member of the federal parliament and a guest at the hotel during the incident told a local news station she was awoken by a large bang, which she initially believed to be an earthquake:
“There are shards (of glass) everywhere. The furniture, everything has been flooded with water. It looks a bit like a war zone.”
“It’s a picture of devastation with lots of dead fish and broken shards.”
Police say a Lindt chocolate store, as well as various restaurants within the building sustained damage, as well as an underground parking garage. See more (below):
We’re glad there weren’t many serious injuries, but we mourn the loss of thousands of exotic fish. Hopefully the city can work quickly to clean up the disaster.
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