“A Picture Of Devastation”: World’s Largest Cylindrical Aquarium Bursts With 1,500 Tropical Fish Inside

A 50-foot tall, 264,000-gallon aquarium containing around 1,500 tropical fish burst in the German hotel in the capital of Berlin on Friday, sending fish and water through the lobby and onto the street, along with all sorts of hotel debris – from bellhop trolleys to twisted lamps.

Guests described the scene as a street strewn with dying fish, some of which appeared to have frozen to death in 19-degree F frigid morning temps, the NY Times reports.

Debris outside the Radisson hotel in central Berlin on Friday. The hotel was evacuated and the authorities were checking for structural damage.Credit…Christoph Soeder/DPA, via Associated Press

According to police, the aquarium – known as the AquaDom, exploded early in the morning. Two people injured by glass shards were taken to a local hospital. Around 100 firefighters arrived on scene, which is currently under investigation.

The incident caused “incredible maritime damage,” according to the police, who noted that the aquarium held around 100 species of tropical fish.

A video made by Sandra Weeser, a member of the federal Parliament who was staying at the hotel, showed the wreckage of the giant tank amid mangled debris.

In an interview on local television, Ms. Weeser described waking up to a shock wave that she thought was a small earthquake before falling back asleep. When she got up an hour later, she saw dozens of people and firefighters outside the hotel, and was soon guided out of the building herself. -NYT

It’s a picture of devastation with lots of dead fish and broken shards,” said Weesler. “The ones that might have been saved were frozen to death.”

The AquaDom stood 46-feet high, 38-feet in diameter, and cost around $13.6 million to build. It opened in 2003, and underwent a modernization procedure around two years ago. It was described by its makers as the largest cylindrical free-standing aquarium in the world.

The incident resulted in a shutdown of the building’s power, which put other fish at risk housed in smaller aquariums inside the building.

“The fish that have survived are being moved as safely as possible,” said Markus Kamrad, an official at the Berlin Senate. “Our Plan A is to reactivate the electricity. Plan B would be to bring them to a safe location, and we have some offers from places that say they are ready to take them.”


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