A giant fish tank erupts – causing a crash so loud people thought it was an earthquake

The Radisson Blu Hotel Berlin Aquarium – Peter Meißner\ullstein bild via Getty Images

A giant aquarium containing around 1,500 tropical fish burst into a Berlin hotel complex on Friday, flooding the lobby and a nearby street and injuring two.

Guests said they were woken by a loud bang as the world’s largest freestanding cylindrical aquarium shattered, letting sea life stream through the hotel’s entrance and onto the freezing streets of the bustling neighborhood of Mitte.

“One million liters of water and all the fish inside spilled to the ground floor,” a spokesman for the Berlin fire department said.

A guest described seeing a parrotfish frozen to the ground after being kicked out of the sprawling container used as the centerpiece of a leisure complex housing the Radisson Blu hotel, museum, shops and restaurants.

“There was a slight shaking of the building and my first guess was an earthquake,” said German MP Sandra Weeser, who was staying at the hotel when the aquarium erupted.

The area where the aquarium once was was now just “dark and damp,” she said, recalling how she saw “one of those big parrotfish lying on the floor, frozen.”

A fire department spokesman told The Telegraph the majority of the fish remained inside what remains of the structure, although they are presumed dead.

“A specialist is currently in the building to test the structure after which we can enter. Some fish from other tanks could be saved and have been taken to another aquarium.”

He said authorities still do not know what caused the incident.

The accident was so large that it was recorded on a seismometer used to record earthquakes and volcano tremors.

Two people were injured by shards of glass and required hospitalization, a spokesperson added.

More than 100 rescuers were dispatched to the scene, which was strewn with glass and other debris.

The cylindrical AquaDom, which opened in 2004, was a popular tourist attraction in the German capital.

It is located in the lobby of a Radisson Blu hotel and a clear-walled elevator has been built inside for use by visitors to the Sea Life leisure complex.

Berlin police said the incident caused “incredible maritime damage” with the death of hundreds of fish.

Water was also leaking “massively” onto adjacent Karl Liebknecht Street, they said, forcing the main traffic artery to be partially closed. The tram service has also been suspended.

Debris lay outside a hotel in Berlin

Debris lay outside a hotel in Berlin

The area around the complex was cordoned off and sniffer dogs were used to search for possible victims among the devastation.

Photos and videos leaked online Friday, apparently by guests staying at the hotel, showed extensive damage to the transparent aquarium, with only the frame still standing.

Pieces of broken glass and damaged furniture were strewn all around.

“I was woken up by a loud bang,” Andi, who lives in a penthouse at the back of the hotel, told The Telegraph.

“The whole building vibrated and you heard the twisting of the metal.”

“I thought the Ferris wheel had collapsed,” he said, pointing across the street to a nearby Christmas market.

“It wasn’t until I looked down in the morning and saw the mess that I knew what had happened.”

“All of our cellars are now flooded with water. I’m afraid the whole structure of the building is damaged.”

Christian and his wife were two of the hotel’s approximately 350 guests. He said: “We heard a loud cracking noise. We then woke up. My wife said something had flown outside the window. (…) I got up shortly after and saw that the aquarium, which was still standing yesterday and had been beautifully cleaned from the inside, had collapsed.”

Musician Iva Yudinski to BILD: “Early in the morning, around 6 a.m., I heard a huge explosion, a bang. I did not understand what happened at all. I called my friend and I am went to his room. From there we saw the aquarium and all the destruction. Everything is flooded with water.

The hotel was evacuated and guests were accommodated in heated buses amid freezing temperatures early in the morning, the fire department spokesman said.

A drone was used to assess the extent of the destruction, he added.

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