A huge aquarium burst early on Friday, December 16, spilling 1 million litres (264,172 gallons) of water, around 1,500 exotic fish and debris onto a major road in the busy Mitte district, Berlin, Germany, 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 the world’s largest freestanding cylindrical aquarium at 14 metres (46ft) in height.
Two people, including a hotel employee, 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 degrees Celsius (19.4°F).
The 1,500 fish from the aquarium died, said a spokesperson for Union Investment, which manages the real estate fund that owns the property.
A spokesperson for the fire brigade said it is still unclear what had caused the AquaDom aquarium to burst.
“It was fortunate that the accident happened so early in the morning, when there was hardly anybody in the immediate vicinity”, Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey was quoted as saying.
“If this hadn’t happened at 5.45 am but even just one hour later, then we would probably have had terrible human loss to report,” broadcaster RBB cited Giffey as saying.
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 said it would also remain closed until further notice.
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— The Reality Report (@TheRealityRepo2) December 16, 2022