Visitors flee aquarium as shark tank springs leak
Published 26/02/2010 | 05:00
THE struggling emirate of Dubai faced yet another setback yesterday: the world's most dramatic water leak.
Visitors fled as water shot from a crack in the glass of the Dubai Aquarium, home to 33,000 fish, including numerous sharks.
The massive fish tank is one of the showpiece attractions in Dubai Mall, the largest in the Middle East and the glitziest of the emirate's many shopping centres.
Jokes about cheap shark steaks quickly spread across the internet. Among the mall's stores is the first Bloomingdale's outside the US, a Gold Souk and numerous high-end shops.
As the central area was evacuated, the chairman of Emaar, the mall's developer, insisted that there was no leak and that there had merely been a technical malfunction with the "operating device".
His words were belied by phone-camera footage posted on the internet showing water showering from a cracked seam in a viewing panel.
As the resulting flooding spread, scores of shoppers ran from the building, hitching up their trousers as they went, and dozens of emergency vehicles were stationed outside.
A local police official said: "There was a small problem, a simple crack, and the water leaked."
One of the fleeing shoppers, a secretary named Ranjin, said: "I saw a small crack in the aquarium glass and there was a little water coming out and a lot of water on the floor.
"The police came and evacuated the area around the aquarium."
Water spread across the mall concourse and was seen flowing down towards the lower car parking area and basement.
Eventually workmen outside the aquarium and six divers inside were able to stem the flow. The fish, including 400 sharks and sting rays, seemed unharmed when the area was re-opened to the public later in the evening.
The Dubai Mall is part of the same development as the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, which opened to the public in January but has since been closed again, also due to technical problems. (© Daily Telegraph, London)