The huge aquarium in Berlin exploded, spilling 1,500 fish onto the road

  • The aquarium spills a million liters on the main roads
  • “Lots of dead fish, debris” – hotel guest
  • About 1,500 fish died – owner of the complex
  • The fire brigade says the cause of the accident is still unclear

BERLIN (Reuters) – A huge aquarium in Berlin exploded early on Friday, spilling 1 million liters (264,172 gallons) of water and about 1,500 strange fish and droppings onto a main road in the busy Mitte district, emergency services said.

About 100 emergency responders rushed to the site, an entertainment complex that includes a Radisson hotel and museum as well as what Sea Life Berlin said is the world’s largest free-standing cylindrical aquarium at 14 meters (46 feet).

“It felt like an earthquake,” said Naz Mosraf, who was staying at the hotel.

Sandra Weezer, another hotel guest, spoke out about the mess.

“The entire aquarium exploded, and what remains is complete destruction. Lots of dead fish and rubble,” she told Reuters.

A spokesman for Union Investments, which manages the real estate trust that owns the property, said 1,500 fish from the aquarium had died.

He said efforts were under way to rescue fish from several small tanks that were near the Aqua Dome which had escaped destruction but suffered a power outage in the building.

A spokesman for the fire brigade told Reuters it was still not clear what caused the Aqua Dome explosion.

Tragedy reported?

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Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffe was quoted as saying that it was fortunate that the incident occurred so early in the morning, when there was no one in the immediate vicinity.

“If this had not happened at 5.45 am, but even only an hour later, we would probably have had too many casualties to report,” Givi was quoted by RBB broadcaster as saying.

Two people, including a hotel employee, were injured by shards of glass, and about 350 hotel guests were told by emergency services to pack up and leave amid fears of possible structural damage.

Police said buses were sent out to provide shelter for hotel guests, as outside temperatures in Berlin in the morning were near -7 degrees Celsius (19.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

Radisson told 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 owners of the Aqua Dome about the cause of the accident.

The company, which had offered glass elevator rides through the Aqua Dome Aquarium, said it would also remain closed until further notice.

Emergency services closed a main road next to the complex that leads from Alexanderplatz towards the Brandenburg Gate because of the large amount of water that flooded the building.

The aquarium was last renovated in 2020, according to the DomAquaree complex’s website. During the development work, all the water was drained from the tank and the fish were moved to the aquariums in the basement of the building, where there is a facility to take care of the fish breeding.

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Additional reporting by Sarah Marsh and Paul Carell, Writing by Rachael Moore and Maria Sheehan, Editing by Emilia Sithole Mataris and Gareth Jones

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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