A giant cylindrical aquarium in Berlin housed 1,500 exotic fish bursts into life

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Two people are hurt by broken glass as a 14-meter-high tank leaks 1 million litres of water.

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On Friday morning in Berlin, a freestanding cylinder aquarium with about 1,500 exotic fish in it broke. This caused a wave of destruction in and around the tourist attraction.

Glass, chairs, tables, and other things were swept out of the DomAquarée complex, which has a Radisson hotel, a museum, shops, and restaurants, when 1 million litres of water poured out of the 14-meter-high (46-foot) tank just before 6am.

Police said that two people were hurt by broken glass and had to be taken to the hospital. There were clownfish, teira batfish, and palette surgeonfish in the saltwater aquarium, but none of them made it.

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Gwendolin Szyszkowitz heard a loud bang and thought a bomb had gone off, she told the German news station n-tv.

Another guest told the Tagesspiegel newspaper, “Our whole bed was shaking.” “I thought an earthquake was happening.”

The mayor of Berlin, Franziska Giffey, went to the scene. She said, “It was like a real tsunami hit the hotel and the restaurants next to it.” “If everything had happened an hour later, there would have been a lot of damage to people.”

Due to the large amount of water coming out of the building, emergency services closed a nearby major road that leads from Alexanderplatz to the Brandenburg Gate.

Outside of the complex, trash was all over the road and the sidewalks. Police confirmed that water damage was done to the nearby DDR Museum, which shows how people lived in the old East Germany.

Berlin’s interior minister said Friday afternoon that the most likely reason for what happened was that the people involved were tired. Iris Spranger told the DPA news agency, “Investigations aren’t done yet, but so far it looks like we’re dealing with material fatigue.”

The aquarium first opened in 2003, and as recently as 2020, it was fixed up. As part of the maintenance work, the company that owns the building said that more insulation was added and the glass cylinder was polished.

Earlier in the day, people thought that overnight temperatures as low as -10C (14F) caused a crack in the glass, which is 18cm (7in) thick at the top and 22cm (8.5in) thick at the bottom of the cylindrical structure.

Before the accident, the aquarium’s owners said that it was the world’s largest cylindrical tank with 1,500 tropical fish from 80 different species. One of the best parts of the attraction would have been a 10-minute elevator ride through the tank at 10am.

Buses were sent to the complex on Friday morning to give shelter to the 350 hotel guests who had been told to leave the building.

Other aquariums in the basement of the building that held between 400 and 500 smaller fish were not directly hurt by the incident, but they were without power on Friday afternoon. The zoo in Berlin has offered to take in any fish that made it out of the hotel complex alive.

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