According to German authorities, a massive aquarium in the heart of Berlin has broken, wreaking havoc inside and outside the well-known tourist destination.
At the AquaDom tourist attraction in the center of the German city early on Friday, a massive aquarium ruptured, spilling debris, water, and more than a thousand tropical fish.
A portion of the structure, which houses a hotel, cafes, and a chocolate shop, was reportedly damaged as 1 million liters (264,000 gallons) of water leaked from the aquarium just before 6 a.m., according to the police (0500 GMT). According to Berlin’s fire department, two people had minor injuries.
Union Investment Real Estate, the owner of the AquaDom, stated Friday afternoon that the incident’s circumstances were “still unclear.”
According to Mayor Franziska Giffey, the tragedy unleashed a “true tsunami” of water, but the early morning spared many more victims.
“Despite all the destruction, we were still fortunate,” she said. “We would have had terrible human damage” had the aquarium burst even an hour later. Once more, people were awake and in the hotel and the surrounding area.
Before the event, the AquaDom, 25 meters (82 feet) tall, had more than a thousand tropical fish and was referred to as the giant cylindrical tank in the world. It hosted 80 different kinds of fish, including the blue tang and clownfish, two vivid species made famous by the well-known animated film “Finding Nemo.”
Giffey remarked, “Unfortunately, none of the 1,500 fish could be salvaged.”
On Friday afternoon, work was being done to preserve 400 to 500 smaller fish in aquariums under the hotel lobby. Officials claimed that without electricity, their tanks were not getting the oxygen they needed to thrive.
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“Now it’s a matter of promptly removing them,” according to Almut Neumann, a city official in charge of environmental issues for Berlin’s Mitte area, DPA.
The Berlin Zoo was one of many groups that offered to take the remaining fish.
Sea Life, which runs aquariums, expressed sadness at the event and said it attempted to contact AquaDom’s proprietors for further details.
Visitors can see AquaDom and Sea Life’s aquariums with a single ticket because they are both housed in the same structure.
Police stated there was no proof the occurrence resulted from an evil act. Still, there was conjecture that freezing conditions reached minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) overnight, creating a break in the acrylic glass tank, which then exploded under the weight of the water.
According to police, over 300 guests and employees had to be evacuated from the hotel next to the aquarium.
A German legislator at the hotel named Sandra Weisser claimed she was awakened by a loud noise and initially believed there had been an earthquake.
“Everything has been inundated with water, and there are glass pieces everywhere,” She said. “It somewhat resembles a war zone.”
A fire department official said building safety experts were evaluating the extent to which the hotel had incurred structural damage. Police said a Lindt chocolate store, several restaurants in the same building complex, and an underground parking garage close to the hotel sustained damage.
Brightly colored Lindt chocolate wrappers were scattered in front of the building where the chocolate shop had been damaged hours after the incident. A small crowd of tourists and onlookers snapped photos from behind the police line across the street. Trucks started clearing away the debris spilled out onto the road in front of the hotel.
The 10-minute elevator trip into the tropical tank was one of the attractions of the attraction. The aquarium, which had its most recent renovation in 2020, is a prominent tourist destination in Berlin.
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The aquarium turned into a “death trap” for the fish kept there, according to a tweet from the animal rights organization PETA on Thursday. “This unnatural disaster proves that aquariums are not a safe environment for fish and other marine creatures, “They stated.
Iva Yudinski, an Israeli visitor, staying at the hotel, expressed horror at the incident.
She said, “Suddenly, it’s all gone, just yesterday we saw it and we were so delighted (by) its beauty. Everything is a complete disaster.”