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December 20, 2012

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Tourist injured by aquarium bursting gets surgery

THE man most seriously injured when a giant aquarium burst late Tuesday on Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall was in stable condition yesterday after undergoing surgery to correct a fracture in his left leg, doctors said. The man, a tourist from Beijing, was walking right by the 33.5-ton tank when it burst.

The other 14 injured by the explosion of the tank that housed small sharks had been discharged by hospitals yesterday. One witness said many people helped in the rescue, even putting themselves at risk.

The cause of the destruction of the aquarium, which lined an outer wall of the Orient Shopping Center, was still under investigation.

The shopping center had paid 58,500 yuan (US$9,388) for medical bills and would cover all the medical expenses that incurred, said Zhu Lei, a shopping center spokesman. No further compensation plan has been decided on yet.

The shopping center is open, except for the immediate area where the tank burst. The tank won't be replaced.

Local fishery management authorities said yesterday they are likely to discourage installation of such large aquariums in shopping centers due to safety reasons, but they have no power to stop them if protected animals are not displayed.

On June 9, it helped move four tortoises, a second-level protected species, from the Orient aquarium to Changfeng Park. The sharks were not protected.

Among those injured when the 7-meter-long, 3-meter-high and 1.25-meter-deep aquarium burst on the first floor of the center around 7:50pm were customers, pedestrians and shop staff. The aquarium was made of acrylic glass 15cm thick, officials said.

Many people helped rescue the injured, according to a local resident surnamed Liu.

"I was on the first floor when I saw the tank collapse after hearing a huge sound," Liu said. "I thought there was a car crashing into the mall, so I ran outside and saw a man with an injured leg sitting on the ground and crying out for help," Liu said.

"I went back to the mall and saw a woman pressed under a slogan board. She was unable to move. There was also a man trapped in the wreckage but he was not injured."

Liu said he and five other witnesses pulled the woman out and helped the man get out. Liu hurt his hands on broken acrylic but didn't go to the hospital.


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