Leak: A torrent of water gushes out of the giant Dubai Mall aquarium after a crack opens up in the glass
Part of the vast Dubai Mall has been evacuated after its giant aquarium developed a leak, a police official said today.
The aquarium, one of the largest tanks in the world at 167ft by 66ft, has hundreds of living animals including Sand Tiger sharks and rays.
It is thought to have developed a crack and a witness said people in part of the mall were evacuated and dozens of emergency vehicles were outside.
The police official, who declined to be identified, said: 'There was a small problem, a simple crack, and the water leaked.'
Six divers entered the tank and appeared to be coordinating with workers outside the glass, while workers mopped up water from the floor.
Emaar's chairman Mohammed Alabbar denied there was a leak in the aquarium, saying there was a 'technical fault in the operating device,' according to a statement carried on the country's official news agency WAM.
Emergency crews are seen arriving at Dubai Mall following the incident
Security personnel inside the mall after it was evacuated when water started gushing out of the aquarium
But a witness said water had been leaking from a crack in the aquarium glass.
'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,' said Ranjin, a 27-year old corporate secretary.
'The police came and evacuated the area around the aquarium.'
Dubai Aquarium is planning to have more than 33,000 animals representing more than 85 species in the giant tank.
It also features an underwater zoo which has penguins, seals, crocodiles and water rats among its attractions.
It is operated by Emaar Properties and also features the world's largest acrylic viewing panel.
One million people had already visited the aquarium seven months after it had opened.
Visitors view the huge aquarium in Dubai Mall (file photo)
This is the latest in a string of problems for the aquarium.
Shortly before its opening in October 2008, over ten per cent of the sharks in the tank were been killed in attacks that marred the build-up to its unveiling.
Sand Tiger sharks killed at least 40 smaller reef sharks and were aggressive towards divers working on final preparations in the giant tank.
Dubai Mall, the world's largest shopping mall by total area, contains around 600 retailers and had over 37 million visitors in its first year of operation.
It now has an average of 750,000 visitors every week. As well as shops and restaurants, the Mall also contains an ice rink and cinema.
Emaar Properties, the Arab world's largest developer, came under scrutiny earlier this month when it closed the observation deck at Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower and the firm's flagship project, just a month after its fanfare opening.