A massive aquarium exploded inside a hotel in Berlin, Germany, on Friday morning, killing hundreds of tropical fish and destroying everything within a small radius, including objects outside the hotel.
The 264,000-gallon tank was approximately 82 feet tall, was home to 1,500 fish from more than 100 species (some reports have said as high as 2,600 fish), and was wrapped around an elevator inside the Radisson Blu complex that took guests on a 10-minute ride through the aquarium. The tank is so large that the facility employs a team of full-time divers to keep up with its maintenance. The complex also houses cafes and a chocolate store.
“We have not yet been able to walk the first floor completely, which is probably where these fish will be,” fire service spokesman Adrian Wentzel said. “But the thing is that the water has completely leaked out and these about 1,400 fish that were in this aquarium could not be saved either.”
Approximately 100 emergency responders arrived at the hotel where over 300 people were staying when the tank burst, which left two people injured.
The Associated Press reported that investigators believe that the tank exploded because of extremely cold temperatures outside that perhaps caused a crack in the tank, which then ruptured due to the enormous weight of the water inside.
The tank is believed to be the world’s largest freestanding cylindrical aquarium and was last modernized two years ago.
Videos posted to social media showed the scope of the destruction:
— rbb|24 (@rbb24) December 16, 2022
— Robin Alexander (@robinalexander_) December 16, 2022
“There are shards (of glass) everywhere. The furniture, everything has been flooded with water,” said Sandra Weeser, a German lawmaker who was staying in the hotel. “It looks a bit like a war zone.”
Photos and videos of the “AquaDom” before it shattered showed why it was a hot tourist attraction in the city:
“Absolutely devastated to read about the #aquadom #radissonbluberlin,” one person wrote. “I stayed there in 2017 & it was the most stunning sight. Those fish were really cared for. The divers went in & fed & cleaned them every day. Thinking of everyone affected. Hope some fish made it!”
Absolutely devastated to read about the #aquadom #radissonbluberlin 😭 I stayed there in 2017 & it was the most stunning sight. Those fish were really cared for. The divers went in & fed & cleaned them every day. Thinking of everyone affected. Hope some fish made it! 🙏🏻 #tragedy pic.twitter.com/VWUpuxN6DR
— Naomi A Austin SFHEA 🇬🇧➕🇪🇺 (@naomiaustin) December 16, 2022
“Such sad news that this incredible piece of engineering is now gone, together with all the biodiversity it held!” commented another. “Thankfully, no other serious injuries were registered.”
Such sad news that this incredible piece of engineering is now gone, together with all the biodiversity it held!
Thankfully, no other serious injuries were registered.#aquadome #aquadom #radissonblu #berlin pic.twitter.com/yNOHlMxXPY
— João Gomes (@JoaoRochaGomes) December 16, 2022
— Larissa (@lararimmer) December 16, 2022
Das Großaquarium Aquadom im Berliner Sea Life ist geplatzt; die armen Fische und Lebewesen. Welche Idioten haben den Zylinder geplant und gedacht, er würde dem hohen Wasserdruck Stand halten ?
Berlin, was kannst Du eigentlich? #AquaDom pic.twitter.com/MJdtRxbJXX
— yanoxx 🇺🇦 (@yanoxxtweet) December 16, 2022
— Müller (@gemuellert) December 16, 2022