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A massive aquarium in a downtown Berlin hotel burst Friday, releasing 264,000 gallons of water, 1,500 fish and injuring two people, German authorities said. 

The spill in the lobby of the Radisson Blu caused a wave of debris to sweep the hotel shortly before 6 a.m. local time and rescue dogs are sweeping the area to make sure no one was caught under the wreckage. 

The tank was the world’s largest cylindrical aquarium and was dubbed the “AquaDom,” which held 80 different types of tropical fish, including blue tang and clownfish – most of which are believed to have perished in the accident.

The AquaDom aquarium in central Berlin is seen in a before and after split image. The cylinder burst Dec. 16, 2022, in this still image obtained from a social media video. 

The AquaDom aquarium in central Berlin is seen in a before and after split image. The cylinder burst Dec. 16, 2022, in this still image obtained from a social media video. 
(REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo | Niklas Scheele/via REUTERS)

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“We have not yet been able to walk the first floor completely, which is probably where these fish will be,” fire service spokesman Adrian Wentzel said. “But the thing is that the water has completely leaked out and these about 1,400 fish that were in this aquarium could not be saved either.”

The exact cause of the incident remain unclear, though authorities believe it could be down to overnight freezing temperatures that may have caused a crack in the glass.

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The tank, which had become a tourist attraction with a 10-minute elevator ride through it, was modernized in 2020.

People gather on the top of the AquaDom aquarium at the Sea Life tourist attraction in Berlin, July 27, 2015. The aquarium burst on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. 

People gather on the top of the AquaDom aquarium at the Sea Life tourist attraction in Berlin, July 27, 2015. The aquarium burst on Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. 
(Joerg Carstensen via DPA)

Some 300 guests staying at the Radisson Blu were forced to evacuate Friday morning. 

German lawmaker, Sandra Weeser, who was staying at the hotel described being woken up after hearing a loud bang, noting she thought there might have been an earthquake. 

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A fish lays in the debris in front of a hotel where an huge aquarium has burst in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. German police say a huge fish tank in the center of Berlin has burst, causing a wave of devastation in and around the Sea Life tourist attraction. (Soeren Stache/dpa via AP)

A fish lays in the debris in front of a hotel where an huge aquarium has burst in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. German police say a huge fish tank in the center of Berlin has burst, causing a wave of devastation in and around the Sea Life tourist attraction. (Soeren Stache/dpa via AP)
(Soeren Stache/dpa via AP)

“There are shards (of glass) everywhere. The furniture, everything has been flooded with water,” she said. “It looks a bit like a war zone.”

Emergency services are still on sight and Berlin police have assessed that so far they do not believe the tank was tampered with. 


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