The burst of Berlin's giant AquaDom hotel aquarium has flooded the hotel and the nearby streets.
The spilling of about 1 million liters of salt water and 1500 fish into the building’s lobby took place in the early hours of Friday morning.
The scene was horrific, with guests being woken up by a shock wave, to see a “picture of devastation”, where fish were lying on the ground, frozen.
“AquaDom” opened in December 2003 and is 15.85m high (52 ft). According to Guinness World Records, it is considered to be the largest free-standing cylindrical aquarium worldwide. When it was in construction, it was estimated to cost €12.8m (£11.2m) to build.
The glass falling after the blast injured 2 people, and guests had to be evacuated from the hotel following the incident which took place at 05:50 local time (04:50 GMT). The guests described being woken up by shaking and a loud bang, water was flowing across the lobby, and the armed police later escorted them out of the hotel.
Police described the situation as ‘incredible’ damage with the water pouring into the hotel lobby, and the vast majority of fish dead. A spokesman for Berlin’s fire brigade noted that the cold weather had made rescue attempts more difficult. More than 100 different species could be found in now empty tanks.
However, in places where residual water had collected, several dozen fish had been found alive. They are now rehoused in other aquariums.
The officials are trying to rescue another 400-500 fish, which had been deprived of oxygen because of the disaster, in smaller tanks under the hotel lobby.
The front doors of the Radisson Blu Collection Hotel in Berlin were blown out by the force of the cascading water. It was also strong enough to register on seismic measuring equipment. In front of the main hotel doors, a pile of debris can be seen laying, hanging into the street.
Franziska Giffey, Mayor of Berlin, went to see the damage at the hotel and described the aquarium explosion as being like a tsunami. According to BBC, she expressed relief that the incident happened in the early morning because if it would have happen hours later, the street outside and the lobby would have been busy with tourists, many of them being children.
Modernized two years ago, there is a clear-walled lift inside the aquarium built for use by visitors. Some of the rooms in the hotel have views of it.
More than 100 firefighters were sent to the scene with rescue dogs and it was not clear what caused the break. There is yet no evidence the break was the result of a targeted attack.
However, there is speculation that the drop in cold temperature of -6C overnight could have caused the crack in the aquarium.
The street outside of the hotel has been closed as a lot of water flooded the road. The trams were also not working in the area.
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