By Michael Kieffer, dpa l Friday, December 16, 2022
BERLIN – At lest two people were injured while about 1500 fishes are now in danger after Berlin’s Sea Life aquarium exploded, flooding a nearby street in the city centre, a spokesperson for the fire brigade said on Friday morning.
The injured people, whose identity remains unclear, have been taken to hospital. A very loud noise could be heard in the hotel near the German capital’s cathedral where the aquarium is located at around 5.45 am (0445 GMT), with parts of the building’s façade sent flying onto the street, a police spokesperson said.
“The aquarium is damaged, water is leaking. The situation is not clear at the moment,” the fire brigade had said earlier on Twitter, adding that 100 fire fighters had been deployed to the Hotel DomAquarée.
The Karl-Liebknecht Straße, a major thoroughfare in central Berlin on which the hotel is located, has been closed off, the traffic information centre tweeted, saying “there is an extreme amount of water on the roadway.”
The guests of the surrounding hotel have been asked to evacuate, a spokesperson for the fire brigade said. Around 350 people are still at the hotel, they said.
Police say there are no indications of a targeted, violent attack on the large aquarium in Berlin. “Not at all at the moment,” said a police spokesperson in response to a question on Friday morning, adding that the cause of the incident is not yet known.
The fire brigade said the giant tank containing one million litres of water was destroyed very quickly. “If the aquarium is defective, it bursts abruptly,” a fire brigade spokesman said, continuing: “This is not a small crack from which the water is leaking, but the entire aquarium burst abruptly.” All the 1,500 or so fish that lived there were now out of the water, he said.
A large part of the water likely leaked through the doors on the ground floor onto the street and into the gutters on the street, said the fire brigade.
Not much water was found in the basement. Authorities used rescue dogs to search for people on the destroyed ground floor.
The DomAquarée building houses the Sea Life aquarium and the so-called AquaDom, “the world’s largest free-standing cylindrical aquarium,” according to the DomAquarée website.
The popular tourist attraction near Berlin’s famous main square, the Alexanderplatz, measures 16 metres in height, and contained 1,000 cubic metres of water. The tank would have weighed an estimated 1,000 tonnes. It was reportedly modernized in 2020.