- Aquarium spills 1 million liters of water on main road
- “Lots of dead fish and debris” – hotel guest
- About 1,500 fish died – complex owner
- The fire brigade said the cause of the accident is not yet known
BERLIN, Dec 16 (Reuters) – A huge aquarium in Berlin burst early on Friday, displacing 1 million liters (264,172 gallons) of water, about 1,500 exotic fish and fish, emergency services said. Debris littered a main road in the busy Mitte district.
About 100 emergency workers rushed to the scene, a leisure center that houses a Radisson hotel, a museum and what Sea Life Berlin says is the world’s largest free-standing 14-meter (46-foot) Cylindrical aquarium.
“It felt like an earthquake,” said Naz Maslav, who has been staying at the hotel.
Another hotel guest, Sandra Weeser, spoke of the chaos.
“The whole aquarium burst and all that was left was total devastation. A lot of dead fish and debris,” she told Reuters.
A spokesman for Union Investment, which manages the real estate fund that owns the property, said 1,500 fish in the aquarium died.
Efforts are underway to rescue fish from several smaller tanks near the AquaDom, which have not been damaged but have had power outages within the building, he said.
A fire brigade spokesman told Reuters it was unclear what caused the AquaDom to burst.
Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey said it was fortunate that the accident happened in the early hours of the morning when there were few people around.
“If this hadn’t happened at 5.45am, even if it was only an hour late, then we could have had dire reports of casualties,” broadcaster RBB quoted Giffy as saying.
Two people, including a hotel employee, were injured by shards of glass and emergency services asked about 350 hotel guests to pack their belongings and leave amid fears there could be structural damage.
Buses were dispatched to provide shelter for hotel guests as outside temperatures in Berlin hovered around -7 degrees Celsius (19.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in the morning, police said.
Radisson informed its Radisson Rewards loyalty club members in an email that the Radisson Collection Hotel Berlin is closed until further notice.
Sea Life Berlin said in a statement that its team was shocked by the incident and was trying to get more information from the AquaDom’s owner about why it happened.
The company, which offered a ride through the AquaDom in a glass elevator, said it too would remain closed until further notice.
Emergency services closed a main road next to the complex leading from Alexanderplatz to the Brandenburg Gate due to the flood of water gushing from the building.
According to the DomAquaree complex’s website, the aquarium was last renovated in 2020. During the upgrade work, all water in the tanks was drained and the fish were transferred to an aquarium in the basement of the building, where there is a breeding care facility for the fish, it said.
Additional reporting by Sarah Marsh and Paul Carrel, writing by Rachel More and Maria Sheahan, editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Gareth Jones
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