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SHOPPERS fled in terror today - giant aquarium filled with 400 SHARKS cracked

SHOPPERS fled in terror today after a giant aquarium filled with 400 SHARKS and stingrays cracked and began gushing torrents of water.

Horrified holidaymakers were among those left fearing that they were about to be engulfed by 10MILLION gallons of water — holding 33,000 sea creatures.

Dramatic video captured people fleeing the Dubai Mall as water poured on to the floor.

Engineers in the Middle East battled to shore-up the aquarium.

Mall security men donned life jackets and stores were ordered to shut up shop.

But the break in the 30-inch thick acrylic viewing panel managed to hold and prevent certain disaster.

Authorities later claimed the problem had been fixed, but were not allowing anyone near to see and anyone with photos of the drama were ordered by cops to delete them.

The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo opened in 2008 at the foot of the Bhurj Khalifa — the world's tallest tower — and is itself one of the biggest aquariums on the planet.

It contains hundreds of sharks from the reef, nurse, sand tiger and leopard families as well as giant stingrays and fish from Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

A break appeared in the tank's walk-through area where visitors to the 1,200-store shopping centre are virtually surrounded by the water.

Video footage shot by an eye-witness showed panicking shoppers hoisting their clothes and hastily retreating as the cascade got worse.

A 27-year-old 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."

A shoe shop worker who did not want to be named said when the evacuation order was given they were told: "The aquarium has exploded."

Six frogmen entered the tank to co-ordinate the repair with workmen on the other side as staff mopped-up the flood.

Dubai's civil defence department initially confirmed a crack, but mall owner Emaar Properties later played it down.

Chairman Mohammad Alabbar said: "There was a technical fault in the operating device. A leakage was noticed at one of the panel joints...and was immediately fixed by the aquarium's maintenance team.

"The leakage did not impact the aquarium environment or the safety of the aquatic animals."

Emaar Properties, the Arab world's largest developer, also built the flagship Bhurj Khalif but had to close the 124th-storey observation deck after a month because of lift problems.

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Added: Feb-25-2010 
By: jumpingforJoy
In:
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Tags: Dubia
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