“Extremely much water on the road”: large aquarium in Berlin burst

The Berlin AquaDom, a tourist attraction, is destroyed. According to the fire brigade, one million liters of water “suddenly” leaked. Two people were injured, 1500 fish were washed out. The cause behind this is probably material fatigue.

A large aquarium in Berlin’s Sea Life near the cathedral with One million liters of water and 1,500 fish burst. Parts of the surrounding hotel were destroyed on Friday morning. Material fatigue is suspected to be the trigger. According to the police, two people were injured and taken to the hospital. Since all the fish from the burst Aquadom are kid, veterinarians focused on the rescue of remaining animals in the basement of the hotel building.

Part of the attraction, the underwater world Sea Life with additional aquariums, is not directly affected by the destruction of the Aquadome. “Now it’s about this to evacuate quickly,” said Almut Neumann, environmental councilor for Berlin-Mitte. About 400 to 500 smaller fish are in aquariums under the lobby, pass away had housed the giant fish tank. The vessels are currently not powered. “We will first try to evacuate the endangered species,” said Berlin’s State Secretary for Consumer Protection, Markus Kamrad. The Berlin Zoo offered to house fish.

Wegen der schweren Beschädigungen mussten die Hotelgäste das Gebäude verlassen.
Because of the severe damage, the hotel guests had to leave the building.( c) REUTERS (MICHELE TANTUSSI)

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 the road.

Material fatigue as a probable cause

According to the operator, the Aquadom in Sea Life was the “largest, cylindrical, free-standing aquarium in the world”, a well-known attraction in Berlin for 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, said Berlin’s Senator for the Interior, 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 escaping, but the entire aquarium suddenly burst.”

“Everywhere carry fish”

About 1500 fish from over 100 different species lived in the tank. The aquarium was filled with a million liters of salt water , that would be 1000 cubic meters of water weighing 1000 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 between 5.30 and 5.45 a.m. “We were really scared,” said a young woman. “You could see that the whole thing had broken apart,” said a hotel guest. Karin Wicki and Sandra Hoffmann from Switzerland described: “It is everything inside is destroyed. There are carry fish. All the furniture is destroyed. The windows are destroyed. Shards everywhere.” They were only informed shortly before 9 a.m. that they had to leave the hotel.

The attached GDR Museum was also affected. Various exhibits were said to have been doused with salt water.

Animal welfare organizations announce legal action

Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) thanked the forces at Sea Life.”Bad news from the bursting aquarium at the Berlin Cathedral,” she wrote on Twitter on Friday.The animal welfare organization Peta, however, wants to take legal action against the operator.”We will file a criminal complaint against those responsible, because the lives of around 1,500 fish were apparently handled negligently here,” said a spokesman for the organization. The destruction of the aquarium was a “huge one “man-made tragedy”. It should not be rebuilt.

In the past, too, aquariums had occasionally burst – albeit not as huge as they are in Berlin now. 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.

(APA/dpa)

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