The early-morning incident sent thousands of gallons of water, fish and debris into the streets of the German capital on Friday
Published on December 16, 2022 08:32 AM
A massive aquarium inside the lobby of the Radisson Blu hotel burst on Friday, forcing thousands of gallons of water, tropical fish and debris into the frigid streets of Berlin, Germany.
When the 50-foot-tall, 38-foot-wide AquaDom aquarium, described by its makers as the world’s largest freestanding aquarium, exploded before 6 a.m. local time, it roused hotel guests from their sleep and later forced their evacuation, according to multiple outlets including The New York Times.
At least two people were taken to the hospital for injuries from broken glass, the outlet reported, after nearly 100 first responders arrived at the scene, near the central square of Alexanderplatz.
About 300 guests were evacuated from the hotel, according to the Associated Press.
“It’s a picture of devastation with lots of dead fish and broken shards,” Sandra Weeser, a member of the federal parliament who was staying at the hotel, said in an interview with a local TV station, adding about the fish: “The ones that might have been saved were frozen to death.”
About 1,500 tropical fish spanning 100 species were enclosed in the cylindrical aquarium, which wrapped around the hotel’s glass elevator and afforded an inside-out view of the sea life, per the Times.
“The fish that have survived are being moved as safely as possible,” Markus Kamrad, an official at the Berlin Senate, told the Times. “Our Plan A is to reactivate the electricity. Plan B would be to bring them to a safe location, and we have some offers from places that say they are ready to take them.”
Officials do not yet know the reason for the incident, but they were investigating any structural issues that may have affected the hotel as a result of the explosion.
Local media relayed that a technical defect may be to blame; police do not think it was a targeted attack, the BBC reported.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
The aquarium, which held the Guinness World Record, debuted in 2003. At the time of its construction, it cost nearly $14 million.