16 meter high aquarium in hotel explodes

A large aquarium at Berlin’s Sea Life near the cathedral with a million liters of water and 1,500 fish has burst. Parts of the surrounding hotel were destroyed on Friday morning. According to the police, there were initially no indications of a targeted, violent attack. Instead, material fatigue is suspected. According to the police, two people were injured and taken to the hospital.

The police spoke of a very loud noise or a bang that could be heard. The fire brigade received an alarm from an automatic fire alarm in the hotel at 5:43 a.m. Parts of the facade of the hotel in which the aquarium was located were flown on the street. Large amounts of water poured up on the street. Since then, the police and fire brigade have been deployed with around 100 people each. It was initially not known whether the two injured were hotel employees or hotel guests.

Largest cylindrical free-standing aquarium in the world

According to the operators, the Aquadom in Sea Life was the “largest, cylindrical, free-standing aquarium in the world”, an attraction in Berlin that is well-known to many tourists. It was an acrylic glass container 16 meters high and 11.5 meters in diameter. Visitors could ride through the interior of the aquarium in an elevator.

The cause of the break could be material fatigue: “Of course, investigations into the cause have not yet been completed, but initial signs point to material fatigue”, said Berlin’s Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD). According to the fire brigade, the giant tank with a million liters of water was destroyed very quickly. “If the aquarium is defective, it bursts suddenly,” said a spokesman for the fire brigade. “It’s not a small crack from which the water is leaking, but the entire aquarium suddenly burst.” All of the approximately 1,500 fish that lived there were kid.

According to the fire department, a large part of the water probably ran through the doors on the ground floor onto the street and there into the canal. I didn’t find much water in the basements. The destroyed ground floor was searched for people with rescue dogs. Because of the severe damage, the guests of the surrounding hotel also had to leave the building, as a spokesman for the fire brigade said. Almost 300 people were still in the hotel.

According to this, around 1500 fish from over 100 different species lived in the pool. The aquarium was filled with one million liters of salt water, which would be 1,000 cubic meters of water weighing 1,000 tons. According to the information, the aquarium was extensively modernized by summer 2020.

Guests of the hotel in Berlin-Mitte unanimously reported an explosion-like bang. This happened between 5:30 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. “We were really scared,” said a young woman. Initially, there was no information from the hotel, several guests said. The reception was not reachable via the landline. “After 8 a.m. the information came that we had to get out.” “You could see that the whole thing had fallen apart,” said a young hotel guest. Karin Wicki and Sandra Hoffmann from Switzerland described: “Everything is destroyed in the interior. There are just a few fish. All the furniture is destroyed. The windows are destroyed. Shards everywhere.” They were only informed shortly before 9:00 a.m. that they had to leave the hotel.

Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) thanked the emergency services at Sea Life. “Bad news from the bursting aquarium at Berlin Cathedral,” she wrote on Twitter on Friday. “I would like to thank the emergency services for their commitment and I wish the injured a speedy recovery.”

Similar incidents

In the past, too, aquariums had occasionally burst – if not as huge as now in Berlin. In December 2012, for example, the glass several centimeters thick in an open-air shark tank in a shopping center in Shanghai, China, ruptured. 16 people were injured. The cause was probably a combination of sub-zero temperatures, warm water and weak material. In February 1997, according to media reports, a shark tank at the Sydney Aquarium burst, injuring at least one woman. Experts criticized that the glass was too thin.

The animal welfare organization PETA wants to take legal action against those responsible in Berlin. “We will file a criminal complaint against those responsible because the lives of around 1,500 fish were apparently handled negligently,” said a spokesman for the organization. The destruction of the aquarium was a “huge, man-made tragedy”. It should not be rebuilt.

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