Berlin: the largest cylindrical aquarium in the world explodes in the middle of a hotel, at least 2 injured

16 meters high and 11.5 meters in diameter, the “AquaDom” of the Radisson Collection Hotel cracked overnight from Thursday to Friday in the center of the German capital, spilling nearly a million liters of water. The vast majority of the 1500 tropical fish did not survive.

A stunning sight. A “very strong detonation” surprised around 5:45 a.m. this Friday morning the approximately 350 people present in the hotel and the shopping mall of the Radisson Blu hotel on Karl-Liebknech street in Berlin, explained the local police.

The reason: the explosion of a cylindrical acrylic glass aquarium with a capacity of 1000m3 installed in the lobby of this hotel in the city center of the German capital from a thickness. Nearly 100 firefighters and police were dispatched to the scene. Parts of the hotel’s facade were shattered in the street.

 “Huge maritime damage”

The detonation woke hotel guests in the early hours of the morning, and the sight of desolation was widely commented on on social media.

“What the hell is this, my hotel aquarium just exploded in the middle of the night. What’s going on?”, wrote a customer on Twitter, filming the remains of the structure in the lobby of the building.

 “In addition to the enormous maritime damage (…), two people were injured by shards of glass” and transported to hospital, explained the city police on Twitter. For their part, the Berlin firefighters said that the rescuers had not yet been able to access the ground floor of the building because of the debris.

Search dogs were sent to the scene to rescue any victims of the disaster. “If the incident had occurred an hour later, we would undoubtedly have had to deplore terrible human losses”, declared Franziska Giffey, the mayor of Berlin, explaining at first that the 1,500 fish could not have been be saved.

The Berlin firefighters, however, explained in the middle of the afternoon, with a photo in support, that fish were still alive. “Even if some fish could survive longer without water, there was little hope of saving any,” Valeska Diemel, an expert with the German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation, told Berliner Zeitung. . “The problem is not only the lack of salt water. The sudden difference in temperature was fatal. Yesterday it was -7°C outside”.

“A Picture of Devastation”

“Everything inside is destroyed. There are dead fish. All the furniture and windows are destroyed. Shards everywhere,” tourists from the hotel told Die Welt. The hotel looks “a bit like a war zone,” said Bundestag MP Sandra Weeser, who was sleeping there.

“It’s a picture of devastation with lots of dead fish and splinters. One of the large parrotfish was on the ground completely frozen,” she added.

The reasons for the explosion of the building are not yet known. The aquarium opened in 2003 was renovated and modernized in 2019-2020 for 2.5 million euros. A clear-walled glass elevator was built inside. It had been open to tourists since the summer of 2022. The explosion would have been caused by the wear and tear of equipment, advances the German daily Bild.

Structural engineers were checking this Friday morning if the load-bearing elements of the building were damaged by the explosion of the basin, while the impact of the waterfall is visible on the seismograms of the city’s stations. This up to 15 kilometers below the surface. The strongest vibrations corresponded to a magnitude of 1.2 on the Richter scale, writes the Berlin Zeitung.

Hotel guests were asked to pack their bags and leave the establishment. Buses have been chartered to pick them up and accompany them to other establishments.

The Karl-Liebknech street where the hotel is located in the Mitte district, and which leads to Alexanderplatz and the Brandenburg Gate, has been closed to traffic. “There is an extremely large amount of water on the roadway,” said the city’s public transport. The hotel also includes a shopping and restaurant complex, as well as the GDR Museum.

The museum, built underground, was partly flooded and will probably be closed until the end of February, its director Gordon Godin told the Berliner Kurier, adding that around “30% of the exhibition area is destroyed”.