On Friday morning, the AquaDom, the largest cylindrical aquarium in the world, suddenly burst and spilled more than 264,000 gallons of water throughout the facility, which also includes a hotel, museum, and cafes. According to Berlin police, “unbelievable maritime damage” had been sustained.
In videos and photographs uploaded by hotel guests to social media on Friday, it was evident that the hotel had suffered shocking damage.
This included dead fish, possible structural damage, and vast quantities of shattered glass. Two people were injured by glass shards but did not suffer any life-threatening injuries according to German authorities and rescue personnel.
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
An investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of the incident as it is not clear what caused it.
In an interview with local media outlets, Sandra Weeser, a guest and member of the German Parliament, stated that she thought there had been a small earthquake. This was in fact the rupture of the AquaDom. According to her, the incident’s aftermath reminded her of a war zone.
“It’s a picture of devastation with lots of dead fish and broken shards,” said Weeser, according to the New York Times. “The ones that might have been saved were frozen to death.”
An evacuation was carried out by 100 emergency responders at the Radisson Collection Hotel built in 2003. As a precaution, police evacuated 350 guests from the hotel due to concerns that the aquarium’s destruction may have caused structural damage. According to AquaDom’s website, the aquarium is currently closed “temporarily” due to the recent destruction.
There is no indication from the video of how nearly 1,500 fish from over 100 different species had fared from the devastating damage to the aquarium. The firefighters and police at the scene provided scant information on what happened to the fish at the time of writing.
As reported by The New York Times, Berlin officials believe the fish within the AquaDom cylindrical tank are unlikely to survive.
As a result, the focus was now on saving the fish in the smaller aquariums within the building. Since the AquaDom burst, there had also been a power outage that endangered the fish.
There is no evidence that a targeted attack caused the break-in, according to a police source.
Speculation has suggested a crack may have occurred because of the freezing temperatures overnight – which fell to as low as -6C.
A substantial amount of water had been accumulating on Karl-Liebknecht street outside the hotel, according to Berlin’s public transport authority. In the area, tram service was also halted.
Guinness World Records recognized AquaDom as the world’s largest cylindrical aquarium when it opened in December 2003.
A report at the time of its construction estimated its cost at €12.8 million (£11.2 million).