A huge aquarium exploded inside a German hotel today, injuring two people and filling the lobby with 1,500 fish and a million litres of water.
The 46ft-high tank in the foyer of the Radisson Blu hotel in central Berlin burst at around 5.50am.
The incident at the AquaDom aquarium left two people suffering injuries from glass shards and caused ‘incredible maritime damage’, German police said.
The explosion filled the hotel lobby with over a million litres of water and 1,500 tropical fish. The leaking water reached the outside of the complex, prompting police to close a nearby street.
The 46ft-high fish tank, which is located in the foyer of the Radisson Blu hotel in central Berlin, burst at around 5.50am this morning. Pictured: The aquarium before the incident (left) and the wreckage afterwards (right)
Berlin police said that as well as causing ‘incredible maritime damage’, the incident at the AquaDom aquarium left two people suffering injuries from glass shards. Pictured: Devastation from inside the hotel foyer
More than 100 emergency workers were at the scene, Berlin’s firefighting service said
Footage from inside the hotel showed extensive damage to the transparent aquarium, with only the frame still standing.
Broken window panes and damaged furniture were scattered near the scene.
More than 100 emergency workers and rescue dogs were deployed to search the building for anyone who might be trapped under the debris, Berlin’s firefighting service said.
‘The aquarium is damaged, water is leaking out. The situation is unclear at the moment,’ it said. ‘A million litres of water and all the fish inside spilled onto the ground floor.’
German lawmaker Sandra Weeser, who was staying at the hotel when the aquarium burst, said she was woken up by ‘a kind of shock wave’.
Debris from the burst aquarium is seen on the ground in front of the Radisson Blu hotel in Berlin today
The street outside the hotel after a leak of the AquaDom aquarium in central Berlin near Alexanderplatz today
Debris lay on the street after the tank burst in the German capital today
Pictured: The aquarium, which featured 1,500 tropical fish, before the explosion at the hotel
‘There was a slight tremor of the building and my first guess was an earthquake,’ she told the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper.
The area where the aquarium once stood was now just ‘dark and wet’ she said, recalling how she saw ‘one of those large parrotfish lying on the ground, frozen’.
There was speculation that temperatures as low as minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 F) overnight had caused a crack in the tank, which then exploded under the weight of the water.
But police said the cause of the incident was still being investigated but there was no evidence that it was the result of an attack.
Around 350 people who had been staying at the hotel in the complex were asked to pack their belongings and leave the building
Emergency services work on a street outside a hotel after the AquaDom aquarium in the German capital leaked
Two people suffered injuries from glass splinters and had to be hospitalised, a spokesman from the Berlin fire department said.
Witness Gwendolin Szyszkowitz told German news channel n-tv that she heard a loud bang and initially feared a bomb had exploded.
Berlin police urged drivers to avoid the area, warning on Twitter that water is ‘massively’ leaking from the aquarium onto the adjoining Karl Liebknecht Street.
Emergency services were forced to shut a major road next to the complex that leads from Alexanderplatz toward the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin due to the large volume of water that had flooded out of the building. The tram service was also suspended.
The road and the pavement outside the complex were littered with debris.
Emergency workers respond at the scene of a broken giant aquarium in Berlin
Emergency services shut a major road next to the complex that leads from Alexanderplatz toward the Brandenburg Gate due to the large volume of water that had flooded out of the building
Around 350 people who had been staying at the hotel in the complex were asked to pack their belongings and leave the building.
Buses were sent to provide shelter for guests, police said on Twitter, as outside temperatures in Berlin stood around -7 degrees Celsius (19.4F).
A drone was being used to survey the extent of the destruction, a fire service spokesman said.
The cylindrical aquarium is located in the foyer of a Radisson Blu hotel and has a clear-walled elevator built inside that was used by visitors to the Sea Life leisure complex, which also has a hotel, shops and restaurants.
Operators say the aquarium has the biggest cylindrical tank in the world and contained 1,500 tropical fish of 80 different species before the incident.
The aquarium, which was last modernized in 2020 after being built in 2004, is a major tourist attraction in Berlin.
The ten-minute elevator ride through the tank was one of the highlights.