'Chaos' as 82-Foot-Tall Aquarium With 1.5K Fish Explodes

2 people injured by glass shards in Berlin; all fish presumed dead
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2022 6:38 AM CST
'Chaos' as Largest Freestanding Cylindrical Aquarium Explodes
People gather on the top of the AquaDom aquarium at the Sea Life tourist attraction in Berlin, July 27, 2015.   (Joerg Carstensen via DPA)

The world's largest freestanding cylindrical aquarium, which held 1,500 tropical fish and more than 264,000 gallons of water, burst Friday. Berlin's 82-foot-tall AquaDom, in the lobby of the Radisson Blu hotel, sent a huge rush of sea water and fish through the hotel and out into the street as it exploded, injuring two people with glass shards, per the BBC. Police described "unbelievable maritime damage" that forced the closure of the hotel. A major road outside the building also had to be closed due to the flow of water. More than 100 firefighters responded to the building in the busy Mitte district, according to Berlin's Fire Brigade, which said it was unclear what caused the break.

The AquaDom—which had a transparent elevator through the middle—was named the world's largest cylindrical aquarium by Guinness World Records when it opened in December 2003, per the BBC. It held more than 100 species of fish. It's unlikely any were saved, and the New York Times notes many froze to death in the street outside. "What's left is total devastation. Lots of dead fish, debris," a hotel guest tells Reuters. It's "just chaos." Videos posted on social media showed the empty aquarium with "water running out of pipes into the foyer," per the BBC. The hotel's 350 guests were removed and initially housed on buses due to the frigid temperatures outside. Due to the level of debris, search and rescue dogs searched the ground floor of the building for anyone who could not get out on their own but no casualties were found. (More Germany stories.)

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