Giant Aquarium Explosion in Berlin Hotel Lobby


It was a day that started like any other in the heart of Berlin, but it quickly turned into a scene of chaos and devastation. At 5:50am on a cold Friday morning, a loud explosion shook the Radisson Blu hotel in Alexanderplatz Square. What followed was a terrifying sight that left witnesses stunned and horrified.

The cause of the explosion was none other than the AquaDom, a colossal cylindrical aquarium that stood tall in the hotel’s lobby. The tank was a marvel of engineering, rising to a height of 15.85 meters and containing a staggering one million litres of water. Housing a diverse range of aquatic life, the AquaDom was not only a popular tourist attraction but a point of pride for Berlin.

AquaDom Shatters, Causing Extensive Damage

Aquadom in full view
Vxla, Wikipedia

But on this fateful day, something went horribly wrong. The AquaDom, which had stood tall for almost two decades, ruptured with a force that shook the entire hotel. The sound was deafening, and the sight that greeted witnesses was one of utter devastation. The once-beautiful cylindrical tank was now shattered, its pieces scattered across the lobby, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

The force of the explosion was so great that it caused extensive damage to the hotel and the surrounding areas. Glass shards rained down on unsuspecting guests, injuring two people, who were rushed to the hospital for treatment. Video footage of the aftermath showed an empty tank, with water gushing out, flooding the hotel’s once-pristine lobby. The situation was so dire that hotel guests had to be evacuated immediately for their safety.

Countless People Were Injured & Fish Were Killed

As if this were not bad enough, the tragedy also claimed the lives of countless fish. The cold weather, which had plummeted to -6°C overnight, made rescue efforts even more challenging. The vast majority of the fish, which had thrived in the AquaDom, unfortunately, did not survive the catastrophic event. However, officials reported that several dozen fish were found alive and were being relocated to other aquariums.

The fate of another 400-500 fish, which were in smaller tanks under the hotel lobby, hung in the balance. They had been deprived of oxygen due to the disaster, and authorities worked tirelessly to save them. Over 100 firefighters were present at the scene, battling to control the chaos and ensure the safety of all those affected.

The cause of the AquaDom’s rupture remained a mystery for some time, with authorities speculating that the freezing temperatures may have caused a crack in the tank. The police ruled out the possibility of a targeted attack, but panic and confusion reigned as people struggled to make sense of the situation.

Local Zoo Officials Save 200 Fish

Despite the overwhelming devastation, there were also stories of hope emerging from the rubble. Nearly 200 fish had miraculously survived, thanks to the efforts of zoo officials who rushed to their aid. These included endangered species like cichlids and vibrant Acanthuridae, which were taken to the Berlin Zoo for treatment and care.

In the days and weeks that followed, the full extent of the damage became apparent. The AquaDom, which had cost around €12.8m to build and had been opened in December 2003, was now a shadow of its former self. The incident had caused a pile of debris in front of the hotel’s entrance, with the doors hanging into the street, twisted at an angle due to the force of the explosion. Karl-Liebknecht street outside the hotel was closed off due to an extreme amount of water on the road, and trams service in the area was also stopped.

The explosion of the AquaDom had sent shockwaves through Berlin, leaving many in the community reeling.

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