Two people injured in the explosion of a huge Berlin aquarium

The 14-meter-tall AquaDom aquarium held one million liters of water
The 14-meter-tall AquaDom aquarium held one million liters of water
AFP

A giant aquarium containing around 1,500 tropical fish burst into Berlin on Friday, flooding a hotel lobby and a nearby street and injuring two people, emergency services said.

It remains unclear what caused the incident at the 14-metre (26ft) high AquaDom aquarium around 5:50 a.m. (0450 GMT), police said.

“A million liters of water and all the fish inside spilled on the ground floor” of the hotel complex housing the aquarium, a spokesman for the Berlin fire department told AFP.

Two people were injured by shards of glass and required hospitalization, the spokesperson added.

More than 100 rescuers were dispatched to the scene, which was strewn with glass and other debris.

The cylindrical AquaDom, which opened in 2004, was a popular tourist attraction in the German capital.

It is located in the lobby of a Radisson Blu hotel and a clear-walled elevator has been built inside for use by visitors to the Sea Life leisure complex.

According to the Sea Life website, the AquaDom is the largest cylindrical, freestanding aquarium in the world.

Berlin police said on Twitter that the incident caused “incredible maritime damage” with the death of hundreds of fish.

Water was also leaking “massively” onto adjacent Karl Liebknecht Street, they said, forcing the main traffic artery to be partially closed. The tram service has also been suspended.

The area around the complex was cordoned off and sniffer dogs were used to search for possible victims among the devastation.

Photos and videos leaked online Friday, apparently by guests staying at the hotel, showed extensive damage to the transparent aquarium, with only the frame still standing.

Pieces of broken glass and damaged furniture were strewn all around.

German MP Sandra Weeser, who was staying at the hotel when the aquarium erupted, said she was woken up by “a kind of shock wave”.

“There was a slight shaking of the building and my first guess was an earthquake,” she told the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper.

The area where the aquarium once was was now just “dark and damp,” she said, recalling how she saw “one of those big parrotfish lying on the floor, frozen.”

A drone was used to assess the extent of the destruction, he added.

More than 100 rescue workers have been deployed
More than 100 rescue workers have been deployed
AFP
The hotel was evacuated
The hotel was evacuated
AFP

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