Nearly all fish rescued from Berlin aquarium 'tsunami' have recovered

Nearly all of the 200 fish rescued from broken mega-aquarium ‘tsunami’ have recovered, Berlin Zoo announces, three weeks after 82ft-high fish tank exploded in hotel lobby

  • More than 1,500 fish crashed into the hotel lobby when the aquarium exploded
  • Around 200 were saved and were taken to Berlin Zoo 
  • Spokeswoman for the zoo said they will continue to look after the surviving fish 

Hundreds of fish rescued from the massive hotel aquarium explosion at the Radisson Blu hotel have survived and are doing well, Berlin Zoo has revealed.

More than 1,500 fish were sent crashing into the hotel lobby when the 46-foot-tall AquaDom ruptured.

A tsunami of 264,000 gallons of saltwater surged through the lobby in the early hours of December 16.

Most of the fish died in the blast but around 200 were saved and were taken to Berlin Zoo.

Pictured: The AquaDom aquarium and the damage after the incident on December 16, 2022 in the atrium of the hotel

The local government said that nearly all of the fish that were inside at the time of the rupture died but ‘a few fish at the bottom of the tank’ were saved

Zoo officials have revealed that most of them have recovered and only nine of the rescued fish later died.

A Berlin Zoo spokeswoman said on Monday that they will continue to care for the surviving fish.

However, she said: ‘It’s not certain how long they’ll stay with us.’

Following the aquarium rupture, around 630 fish were rescued from its underground breeding tanks, the building owner said.

Some were given to Berlin Zoo, and the remaining ones to other institutions.

The cause of the rupture remains under investigation.

Last month, a German expert said the aquarium in the hotel was a ‘ticking time bomb’ and the accident should have been predicted.

Hermann Schuranm, former owner of Schuran Seawater Equipment, said it does not surprise him that the tank shattered.

The expert in constructing similar facilities said it should have been clearly stated that the aquarium would only be able to last until a certain point, with some only surviving 25 years. The structure burst after just 19 years.

Mr Schuranm claims he was asked for a quote to build the aquarium but decided not to go ahead with it, noting that it was too large and he could not say for sure how long it would survive.

Mr Schuranm said the blame falls on those who built it, adding that it should have been inspected every two years. 

‘Otherwise, there is negligence,’ he said. 

The contract states that regular inspections are needed, but it does not say how frequent these should be. 

Mr Schuranm added that he is unaware of the process that was used to bolster the structure, but noted that if it was not prepared in the correct way then it could have resulted in cracks in the glass.

He told EuroWeekly: ‘That AquaDom should have been heated to 80 degrees with an oven after construction and then again after the renovation. That is very expensive, but it is possible.’ 

Debris lies in front of the Radisson Blu hotel, where the huge aquarium in the hotel’s lobby burst on December 16, 2022

A man looks through the debris that cascaded out of the Radisson Blu hotel on December 16, 2022 after the aquarium burst

Debris from the aquarium that exploded on Friday is seen on the ground in front of the Radisson Blu hotel in Berlin, Germany

The colossal tank, in the foyer of the Radisson Blu hotel in central Berlin, burst at around 5.50am on December 16. 

The shattering of the AquaDom aquarium cut off electricity in the hotel. Two people were injured from glass shards and received treatment at hospital.

However, there may have been more casualties had the freak accident occurred an hour later, when the hotel lobby is usually packed with visitors.

Police said they found no evidence that a malicious act had taken place but the cause of the spectacular collapse remains unclear.

A spokesperson for Radisson Hotel Group told MailOnline: ‘Members of our leadership team are on site, and, together with the authorities, are looking into the cause of the incident. 

‘We have immediately closed the hotel until further notice and are relocating guests.’

Footage from inside the hotel showed extensive damage to the transparent aquarium, with only the frame still standing

The AquaDom aquarium pictured after it burst on December 16, 2022 in Berlin, Germany

The local government said that nearly all of the 1,500 fish that were inside at the time of the rupture died but ‘a few fish at the bottom of the tank’ were saved

The aquarium opened in December 2003 and was modernised in 2020.

Reynolds Polymer Technology, based in the US, which states on its website that 41 of its acrylic panels were used in building the tank cylinder, said it ‘offers its sincere concern’ to the hotel guests and workers who were affected and to those who were injured.

It said that they are also ‘deeply saddened by the animals and aquatic life lost’.

There was speculation that freezing temperatures dropping down to -10C (14F) overnight caused a crack in the acrylic glass tank, which then exploded under the weight of the water. 

The 82ft-high tank in the foyer of the Radisson Blu hotel in central Berlin burst at around 5.50am on December 16, 2022, killing 1,500 tropical fish housed in the aquarium

About 400 to 500 mostly small fish from a separate set of aquariums housed under the hotel lobby were evacuated to other tanks in a neighbouring aquarium that was unaffected

Footage from inside the hotel showed extensive damage to the aquarium, with only the frame still standing.

Broken window panes and damaged furniture were scattered near the scene.

More than 100 emergency workers and rescue dogs were deployed to search the building for anyone who might be trapped under the debris, Berlin’s firefighting service said.

Hours after the incident, trucks began clearing away the debris that had spilled out on to the street in front of the hotel.

The cylindrical aquarium is located in the foyer of a Radisson Blu hotel and has a clear-walled elevator built inside that was used by visitors to the Sea Life leisure complex, which also has a hotel, shops and restaurants.

Around 350 people who had been staying at the hotel in the complex were asked to pack their belongings and leave the building

Debris lay on the street after the tank burst in the German capital on December 16, 2022

Firefighters were deployed outside the Radisson Blu hotel, where a huge aquarium located in the hotel’s lobby burst on December 16, 2022

Pictured: Emergency responders evacuating additional fish that were located in other aquariums inside the hotel

Operators said the aquarium has the biggest cylindrical tank in the world and contained 80 different species of tropical fish before the incident.

During its refurbishing work in 2020, all the water was drained from the tank and the fish were moved to aquariums in the basement of the building, where there is a breeding care facility for the fish, according to the website of the DomAquarée complex.

The Bild newspaper said the aquarium had only reopened this summer after the two-year renovation that cost around 2.6 million euros (£2.2 million).

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